Translated by The Rev. E. W. Watson, M.A.
The Rev. L. Pullan, M.A. Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford,
Edited by The Rev. W. Sanday, D.D., LL.D.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Preface.This volume of the series of Nicene Fathers has been unfortunately delayed. When I consented in the first instance to edit the volume, it was with the distinct understanding that I could not myself undertake the translation, but that I would do my best to find translators and see the work through the press. It has been several times placed in the hands of very competent scholars; but the fact that work of this kind can only be done in the intervals of regular duties, and the almost inevitable drawback that the best men are also the busiest, has repeatedly stood in the way and caused the work to be returned to me. That it sees the light now is due mainly to the zeal, ability, and scholarship of the Rev. E. W. Watson. It was late in the day when Mr. Watson first undertook a share in the work which has since then been constantly increased. He has co-operated with me in the most loyal and efficient manner; and while I am glad to think that the whole of the Introduction and a full half of the translation are from his hand, there is hardly a page (except in the translation of the De Synodis, which was complete before he joined the work) which does not owe to him many and marked improvements. My own personal debt to Mr. Watson is very great indeed, and that of the subscribers to the series is, I believe, hardly less.
For the translator of Hilary has before him a very difficult task. It has not been with this as with other volumes of the series, where an excellent translation already existed and careful revision was all that was needed. A small beginning had been made for the De Trinitate by the late Dr. Short, Bishop of Adelaide, whose manuscript was kindly lent to one of the contributors to this volume. But with this exception no English translation of Hilary's works has been hitherto attempted. That which is now offered is the first in the field. And it must be confessed that Hilary is a formidable writer. I do not think that I know any Latin writer so formidable, unless it is Victorinus Afer, or Tertullian. And the terse, vigorous, incisive sentences of Tertullian, when once the obscurities of meaning have been mastered, run more easily into English than the involved and overloaded periods of Hilary. It is true that in a period of decline Hilary preserves more than most of his contemporaries of the tradition of Roman culture; but it is the culture of the rhetorical schools at almost the extreme point of their artificiality and mannerism. Hilary was too sincere a man and too thoroughly in earnest to be essentially mannered or artificial; but his training had taken too strong a hold upon him to allow him to express his thought with ease and simplicity. And his very merits all tended in the same direction. He has the copia verborum; he has the weight and force of character which naturally goes with a certain amplitude of style; he has the seriousness and depth of conviction which keeps him at a high level of dignity and gravity but is unrelieved by lighter touches.
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Few writers deserve their place in the library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers more thoroughly than Hilary. He might be said to be the one Latin theologian before the age of St. Augustine and St. Leo. Tertullian had a still greater influence upon the writers who followed him. He came at a still more formative and critical time, and the vis vivida of his original and wayward genius has rarely been equalled. But the particular influence which Tertullian exerted in coining the terms and marking out the main lines of Latin theology came to him almost by accident. He was primarily a lawyer, and his special gift did not lie in the region of speculation. It is a strange fortune which gave to the language on which he set his stamp so great a control of the future. The influence of Hilary on the other hand is his by right. His intercourse with the East had a marked effect upon him. It quickened a natural bent for speculation unusual in the West. The reader will find in Mr. Watson's Introduction a description and estimate of Hilary's theology which is in my opinion at once accurate, candid and judicious. No attempt is made to gloss over the defects, especially in what we might call the more superficial exegesis of Hilary's argument; but behind and beneath this we feel that we are in contact with a very powerful mind. We feel that we are in contact with a mind that has seized and holds fast the central truth of the Christian system, which at that particular crisis of the Church's history was gravely imperiled. The nerve of all Hilary's thinking lies in his belief, a belief to which he clung more tenaciously than to life itself, that Christ was the Son of God not in name and metaphor only, but in fullest and deepest reality. The great Athanasius himself has not given to this belief a more impressive or more weighty expression. And when like assaults come round, as they are constantly doing, in what is in many respects the inferior arena of our own day, it is both morally bracing and intellectually helpful to go back to these protagonists of the elder time.
And yet, although Hilary is thus one of the chief builders up of a metaphysical theology in the West--although, in other words, he stands upon the direct line of the origin of the Quicumque vult, it is well to remember that no one could be more conscious than he was of the inadequacy of human thought and human language to deal with these high matters. The accusation of intruding with a light heart into mysteries is very far from touching him. "The heretics compel us to speak where we would far rather be silent. If anything is said, this is what must be said," is his constant burden. In this respect too Hilary affords a noble pattern not only to the Christian theologian but to the student of theology, however humble.
It has been an unfortunate necessity that use has had to be made almost throughout of an untrustworthy text. The critical edition which is being produced for the Corpus Scriptorum Eccelesiasticorum Latinorum of the Vienna Academy does not as yet extend beyond the Commentary on the Psalms (S. Hilarii Ep. Pictaviensis Tract. super Psalmos, recens. A. Zingerle, Vindobonae, mdcccxci). This is the more to be regretted as the mss. of Hilary are rather exceptionally early and good. Most of these were used in the Benedictine edition, but not so systematically or thoroughly as a modern standard requires. It is impossible to speak decidedly about the text of Hilary until the Vienna edition is completed.
The treatise De Synodis was translated by the Rev. L. Pullan, and has been in print for some time. The Introduction and the translation of De Trinitate i.-vii. are the work of Mr. Watson. Books viii. and xii. were undertaken Mr. E. N. Bennett, Fellow of Hertford, and Books ix.-xi. by the Rev. S. C. Gayford, late Scholar of Exeter. The specimens of the Commentary on the Psalms were translated by the Rev. H. F. Stewart, Vice-Principal of the Theological College, Salisbury, who has also made himself responsible for the double Index.
A word of special thanks is due to the printers, Messrs. Parker, who have carried out their part of the work with conspicuous intelligence and with the most conscientious care.
W. Sanday, Christ Church, Oxford, July 12, 1898.
Hilary of Poitiers, the most impersonal of writers, is so silent about himself, he is so rarely mentioned by contemporary writers--in all the voluminous works of Athanasius he is never once named,--and the ancient historians of the Church knew so little concerning him beyond what we, as well as they, can learn from his writings, that nothing more than a very scanty narrative can be constructed from these, as seen in the light of the general history of the time and combined with the few notices of him found elsewhere. But the account, though short, cannot be seriously defective. Apart from one or two episodes, it is eminently the history of a mind, and of a singularly consistent mind, whose antecedents we can, in the main, recognise, and whose changes of thought are few, and can be followed.
He was born, probably about the year 300 a.d.  , and almost certainly, since he was afterwards its bishop, in the town, or in the district dependent upon the town, by the name of which he is usually styled. Other names, beside Hilarius, he must have had, but we do not know them. The fact that he has had to be distinguished by the name of his see, to avoid confusion with his namesake of Arles, the contemporary of St. Augustine, shews how soon and how thoroughly personal details concerning him were forgotten. The rank of his parents must have been respectable at least, and perhaps high; so much we may safely assume from the education they gave him. Birth in the Gallic provinces during the fourth century brought with it no sense of provincial inferiority. Society was thoroughly Roman, and education and literature more vigorous, so far as we can judge, than in any other part of the West. The citizen of Gaul and of Northern Italy was, in fact, more in the centre of the world's life than the inhabitant of Rome. Gaul was in the West what Roman Asia was in the East, the province of decisive importance, both for position and for wealth. And in this prosperous and highly civilised community the opportunities for the highest education were ample. We know, from Ausonius and otherwise, how complete was the provision for teaching at Bordeaux and elsewhere in Gaul. Greek was taught habitually as well as Latin. In fact, never since the days of Hadrian had educated society throughout the Empire been so nearly bilingual. It was not only that the Latin-speaking West had still to turn for its culture and its philosophy to the literature of Greece. Since the days of Diocletian the court, or at least the most important court, had resided as a rule in Asia, and Greek had tended to become, equally with Latin, the language of the courtier and the administrator. The two were of almost equal importance; if an Oriental like Ammianus Marcellinus could write, and write well, in Latin, we may be certain that, in return, Greek was familiar to educated Westerns. To Hilary it was certainly familiar from his youth; his earlier thoughts were moulded by Neoplatonism, and his later decisively influenced by the writings of Origen  . His literary and technical knowledge of Latin was also complete  . It would require wide special study and knowledge to fix his relation in matters of composition and rhetoric to other writers. But one assertion, that of Jerome  , that Hilary was a deliberate imitator of the style of Quintilian, cannot be taken seriously. Jerome is the most reckless of writers; and it is at least possible to be somewhat familiar with the writings of both and yet see no resemblance, except in a certain sustained gravity, between them. Another description by Jerome of Hilary as `mounted on Gallic buskin and adorned with flowers of Greece' is suitable enough, as to its first part, to Hilary's dignified rhetoric; the flowers of Greece, if they mean embellishments inserted for their own sake, are not perceptible. In this same passage  Jerome goes on to criticise Hilary's entanglement in long periods, which renders him unsuitable for unlearned readers. But those laborious, yet perfectly constructed, sentences are an essential part of his method. Without them he could not attain the effect he desires; they are as deliberate and, in their way, as successful as the eccentricities of Tacitus. But when Jerome elsewhere calls Hilary `the Rhone of Latin eloquence  ,' he is speaking at random. It is only rarely that he breaks through his habitual sobriety of utterance; and his rare outbursts of devotion or denunciation are perhaps the more effective because the reader is unprepared to expect them. Such language as this of Jerome shews that Hilary's literary accomplishments were recognised, even though it fails to describe them well. But though he had at his command, and avowedly employed, the resources of rhetoric in order that his words might be as worthy as he could make them of the greatness of his theme  , yet some portions of the De Trinitate, and most of the Homilies on the Psalms are written in a singularly equable and almost conversational style, the unobtrusive excellence of which manifests the hand of a clear thinker and a practiced writer. He is no pedant  , no laborious imitator of antiquity, distant or near; he abstains, perhaps more completely than any other Christian writer of classical education, from the allusions to the poets which were the usual ornament of prose. He is an eminently businesslike writer; his pages, where they are unadorned, express his meaning with perfect clearness; where they are decked out with antithesis or apostrophe and other devices of rhetoric, they would no doubt, if our training could put us in sympathy with him, produce the effect upon us which he designed, and we must, in justice to him, remember as we read that, in their own kind, they are excellent, and that, whether they aid us or no in entering into his argument, they never obscure his thought. Save in the few passages when corruption exists in the text, it is never safe to assert that Hillary is unintelligible. The reader or translator who cannot follow or render the argument must rather lay the blame upon his own imperfect knowledge of the language and thought of the fourth century. Where he is stating or proving truth, whether well-established or newly ascertained, he is admirably precise; and even in his more dubious speculations he never cloaks a weak argument in ambiguous language. A loftier genius might have given us in language inadequate, through no fault of his own, to the attempt some intimations of remoter truths. We must be thankful to the sober Hilary that he, with his strong sense of the limitations of our intellect, has provided a clear and accurate statement of the case against Arianism, and has widened the bounds of theological knowledge by reasonable deductions from the text of Scripture, usually convincing and always suggestive.
His training as a writer and thinker had certainly been accomplished before his conversion. His literary work done, like that of St. Cyprian, within a few years of middle life, displays, with a somewhat increasing maturity of thought, a steady uniformity of language and idiom, which can only have been acquired in his earlier days. And this assured possession of literary form was naturally accompanied by a philosophical training. Of one branch of a philosophical education, that of logic, there is almost too much evidence in his pages. He is free from the repulsive angularity which sometimes disfigures the pages of Novatian, a writer who had no great influence over him; but in the De Trinitate he too often refuses to trust his reader's intelligence, and insists upon being logical not only in thought but in expression. But, sound premises being given, he may always be expected to draw the right conclusion. He is singularly free from confusion of thought, and never advances to results beyond what his premises warrant. It is only when a false, though accepted, exegesis misleads him, in certain collateral arguments which may be surrendered without loss to his main theses, that he can be refuted; or again when, in his ventures into new fields of thought, he is unfortunate in the selection or combination of texts. But in these cases, as always, the logical processes are not in fault; his deduction is clear and honest.
Philosophy in those days was regarded as incomplete unless it included some knowledge of natural phenomena, to be used for purposes of analogy. Origen and Athanasius display a considerable interest in, and acquaintance with, physical and physiological matters, and Hilary shares the taste. The conditions of human or animal birth and life and death are often discussed  ; he believes in universal remedies for disease  , and knows of the employment of anæsthetics in surgery  . Sometimes he wanders further afield, as, for instance, in his account of the natural history of the fig-tree  and the worm  , and in the curious little piece of information concerning Troglodytes and topazes, borrowed, he says, from secular writers, and still to be read in the elder Pliny  . Even where he seems to be borrowing, on rare occasions, from the commonplaces of Roman poetry, it is rather with the interest of the naturalist than of the rhetorician, as when he speaks in all seriousness of `Marsian enchantments and hissing vipers lulled to sleep  ,' or recalls Lucan's asps and basilisks of the African desert as a description of his heretical opponents  . Perhaps his lost work, twice mentioned by Jerome  , against the physician Dioscorus was a refutation of physical arguments against Christianity.
Hilary's speculative thought, like that of every serious adherent of the pagan creed, had certainly been inspired by Neoplatonism. We cannot take the account of his spiritual progress up to the full Catholic faith, which he gives in the beginning of the De Trinitate, and of which we find a less finished sketch in the Homily on Psalm lxi. § 2, as literal history. It is too symmetrical in its advance through steadily increasing light to the perfect knowledge, too well prepared as a piece of literary workmanship--it is indeed an admirable example of majestic prose, a worthy preface to that great treatise--for us to accept it, as it stands, as the record of actual experience. But we may safely see in it the evidence that Hilary had been an earnest student of the best thought of his day, and had found in Neoplatonism not only a speculative training but also the desire, which was to find its satisfaction in the Faith, for knowledge of God, and for union with Him. It was a debt which Origen, his master, shared with him; and it must have been because, as a Neoplatonist feeling after the truth, he found so much of common ground in Origen, that he was able to accept so fully the teaching of Alexandria. But it would be impossible to separate between the lessons which Hilary had learnt from the pagan form of this philosophy, and those which may have been new to him when he studied it in its Christian presentment. Of the influence of Christian Platonism upon him something will be said shortly. At this point we need only mention as a noteworthy indication of the fact that Hilary was not unmindful of the debt, that the only philosophy which he specifically attacks is the godless system of Epicurus, which denies creation, declares that the gods do not concern themselves with men, and deifies water or earth or atoms  .
It was, then, as a man of mature age, of literary skill and philosophical training, that Hilary approached Christianity. He had been drawn towards the Faith by desire for a truth which he had not found in philosophy; and his conviction that this truth was Christianity was established by independent study of Scripture, not by intercourse with Christian teachers; so much we may safely conclude from the early pages of the De Trinitate. It must remain doubtful whether the works of Origen, who influenced his thought so profoundly, had fallen into his hands before his conversion, or whether it was as a Christian, seeking for further light upon the Faith, that he first studied them. For it is certainly improbable that he would find among the Christians of his own district many who could help him in intellectual difficulties. The educated classes were still largely pagan, and the Christian body, which was, we may say, unanimously and undoubtingly Catholic, held, without much mental activity, a traditional and inherited faith. Into this body Hilary entered by Baptism, at some unknown date. His age at the time, his employment, whether or no he was married  , whether or no he entered the ministry of the Church of Poitiers, can never be known. It is only certain that he was strengthening his faith by thought and study.
He had come to the Faith, St. Augustine says  , laden, like Cyprian, Lactantius and others, with the gold and silver and raiment of Egypt; and he would naturally wish to find a Christian employment for the philosophy which he brought with him. If his horizon had been limited to his neighbours in Gaul, he would have found little encouragement and less assistance. The oral teaching which prevailed in the West furnished, no doubt, safe guidance in doctrine, but could not supply reasons for the Faith. And reasons were the one great interest of Hilary. The whole practical side of Christianity as a system of life is ignored, or rather taken for granted and therefore not discussed, in his writings, which are ample enough to be a mirror of his thought. For instance, we cannot doubt that his belief concerning the Eucharist was that of the whole Church. Yet in the great treatise on the Trinity, of which no small part is given to the proof that Christ is God and Man, and that through this union must come the union of man with God, the Eucharist as a means to such union is only once introduced, and that in a short passage, and for the purpose of argument  . And altogether it would be as impossible to reconstruct the Christian life and thought of the day from his writings as from those of the half-pagan Arnobius. To such a mind as this the teaching which ordinary Christians needed and welcomed could bring no satisfaction, and no aid towards the interpretation of Scripture. The Western Church was, indeed, in an almost illogical position. Conviction was in advance of argument. The loyal practice of the Faith had led men on, as it were by intuition, to apprehend and firmly hold truths which the more thoughtful East was doubtfully and painfully approaching. Here, again, Hilary would be out of sympathy with his neighbours, and we cannot wonder that in such a doctrine as that of the Holy Spirit he held the conservative Eastern view. Nor were the Latin speaking Churches well equipped with theological literature. The two  great theologians who had as yet written in their tongue, Tertullian and Novatian, with the former of whom Hilary was familiar, were discredited by their personal history. St. Cyprian, the one doctor whom the West already boasted, could teach disciplined enthusiasm and Christian morality, but his scattered statements concerning points of doctrine convey nothing more than a general impression of piety and soundness; and even his arrangement, in the Testimonia, of Scriptural evidences was a poor weapon against the logical attack of Arianism. But there is little reason to suppose that there was any general sense of the need of a more systematic theology. Africa was paralysed, and the attention of the Western provinces probably engrossed, by the Donatist strife, into which questions of doctrine did not enter. The adjustment of the relations between Church and State, the instruction and government of the countless proselytes who flocked to the Faith while toleration grew into imperial favour, must have needed all the attention that the Church's rulers could give. And these busy years had followed upon a generation of merciless persecution, during which change of practice or growth of thought had been impossible; and the confessors, naturally a conservative force, were one of the dominant powers in the church. We cannot be surprised that the scattered notices in Hilary's writings of points of discipline, and his hortatory teaching, are in no respect different from what we find a century earlier in St. Cyprian. And men who were content to leave the superstructure as they found it were not likely to probe the foundations. Their belief grew in definiteness as the years went on, and faithful lives were rewarded, almost unconsciously, with a deeper insight into truth. But meanwhile they took the Faith as they had received it; one might say, as a matter of course. There was little heresy within the Western Church. Arianism was never prevalent enough to excite fear, even though repugnance were felt. The Churches were satisfied with faith and life as they saw it within and around them. Their religion was traditional, in no degenerate sense.
But such a religion could not satisfy ardent and logical minds, like those of St. Hilary and his two great successors, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. To such men it was a necessity of their faith that they should know, and know in its right proportions, the truth so far as it had been revealed, and trace the appointed limits which human knowledge might not overpass. For their own assurance and for effective warfare against heresy a reasoned system of theology was necessary. Hilary, the earliest, had the greatest difficulty. To aid him in the interpretation of Scripture he had only one writer in his own tongue, Tertullian, whose teaching, in the matters which interested Hilary, though orthodox, was behind the times. His strong insistence upon the subordination of the Son to the Father, due to the same danger which still, in the fourth century, seemed in the East the most formidable, was not in harmony with the prevalent thought of the West. Thus Hilary, in his search for reasons for the Faith, was practically isolated; there was little at home which could help him to construct his system. To an intellect so self-reliant as his this may have been no great trial. Scrupulous though he was in confining his speculations within the bounds of inherited and acknowledged truth, yet in matters still undecided he exercised a singularly free judgment, now advancing beyond, now lingering behind, the usual belief of his contemporaries. In following out his thoughts, loyally yet independently, he was conscious that he was breaking what was new ground to his older fellow-Christians, almost as much as to himself, the convert from Paganism. And that he was aware of the novelty is evident from the sparing use which he makes of that stock argument of the old controversialists, the newness of heresy. He uses it, e.g., in Trin. ii. 4, and uses it with effect; but it is far less prominent in him than in others.
For such independence of thought he could find precedent in Alexandrian theology, of which he was obviously a careful student and, in his free use of his own judgment upon it, a true disciple. When he was drawn into the Arian controversy and studied its literature, his thoughts to some extent were modified; but he never ceases to leave upon his reader the impression of an Oriental isolated in the West. From the Christian Platonists of Alexandria  come his most characteristic thoughts. They have passed on, for instance, from Philo to him the sense of the importance of the revelation contained in the divine name He that is. His peculiar doctrine of the impassibility of the incarnate Christ is derived, more probably directly than indirectly, from Clement of Alexandria. But it is to Origen that Hilary stands in the closest and most constant relations, now as a pupil, now as a critic. In fact, as we shall see, no small portion of the Homilies on the Psalms, towards the end of the work, is devoted to the controverting of opinions expressed by Origen; and by an omission which is itself a criticism he completely ignores one of that writer's most important contributions to Christian thought, the mystical interpretation of the Song of Songs. It is true that Jerome  knew of a commentary on that Book which was doubtfully attributed to Hilary; but if Hilary had once accepted such an exegesis he could not possibly have failed to use it on some of the numerous occasions when it must have suggested itself in the course of his writing, for it is not his habit to allow a thought to drop out of his mind; his characteristic ideas recur again and again. In some cases we can actually watch the growth of Hilary's mind as it emancipates itself from Origen's influence; as, for instance, in his psychology. He begins (Comm. in Matt. v. 8) by holding, with Origen and Tertullian, that the soul is corporeal; in later life he states expressly that this is not the case  . Yet what Hilary accepted from Origen is far more important than what he rejected. His strong sense of the dignity of man, of the freedom of the will, his philosophical belief in the inseparable connection of name and thing, the thought of the Incarnation as primarily an obscuring of the Divine glory  , are some of the lessons which Origen has taught him. But, above all, it is to him that he owes his rudimentary doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. Hilary says nothing inconsistent with the truth as it was soon to be universally recognised; but his caution in declining to accept, or at least to state, the general belief of Western Christendom that the Holy Spirit, since Christians are baptized in His Name as well as in that of Father and Son, is God in the same sense as They, is evidence both of his independence of the opinion around him and of his dependence on Origen. Of similar dependence on any other writer or school there is no trace. He knew Tertullian well, and there is some evidence that he knew Hippolytus and Novatian, but his thought was not moulded by theirs; and when, in the maturity of his powers, he became a fellow-combatant with Athanasius and the precursors of the great Cappadocians, his borrowing is not that of a disciple but of an equal.
There is one of St. Hilary's writings, evidently the earliest of those extant and probably the earliest of all, which may be noticed here, as it gives no sign of being written by a Bishop. It is the Commentary on St. Matthew. It is, in the strictest sense, a commentary, and not, like the work upon the Psalms, a series of exegetical discourses. It deals with the text of the Gospel, as it stood in Hilary's Latin version, without comment or criticism upon its peculiarities, and draws out the meaning, chiefly allegorical, not of the whole Gospel, but apparently of lections that were read in public worship. A few pages at the beginning and end are unfortunately lost, but they cannot have contained anything of such importance as to alter the impression which we form of the book. In diction and grammar it is exactly similar to Hilary's later writings; the fact that it is, perhaps, somewhat more stiff in style may be due to self-consciousness of a writer venturing for the first time upon so important a subject. The exegesis is often the same as that of Origen, but a comparison of the several passages in which Jerome mentions this commentary makes it certain that it is not dependent upon him in the same way as are the Homilies on the Psalms and Hilary's lost work upon Job. Yet if he is not in this work the translator, or editor, of Origen, he is manifestly his disciple. We cannot account for the resemblance otherwise. Hilary is independently working out Origen's thoughts on Origen's lines. Origen is not named, nor any other author, except that he excuses himself from expounding the Lord's Prayer on the ground that Tertullian and Cyprian had written excellent treatises upon it  . This is a rare exception to his habit of not naming other writers. But, whoever the writers were from whom Hilary drew his exegesis, his theology is his own. There is no immaturity in the thought; every one of his characteristic ideas, as will be seen in the next chapter, is already to be found here. But there is one interesting landmark in the growth of the Latin theological vocabulary, very archaic in itself and an evidence that Hilary had not yet decided upon the terms that he would use. He twice  speaks of Christ's Divinity as `the theotes which we call deitas.' In his later writings he consistently uses divinitas, except in the few instances where he is almost forced, to avoid intolerable monotony, to vary it with deitas; and in his commentary he would not have used either of these words, still less would he have used both, unless he were feeling his way to a fixed technical term. Another witness to the early date of the work is the absence of any clear sign that Hilary knew of the existence of Arianism. He knows, indeed, that there are heresies which impugn the Godhead of Christ  , and in consequence states that doctrine with great precision, and frequently as well as forcibly. But it has been pointed out  that he discusses many texts which served, in the Arian strife, for attack or defence, without alluding to that burning question: and this would have been impossible and, indeed, a dereliction of duty, in Hilary's later life. And there is one passage  in which he speaks of God the Father as `He with (or `in') Whom the Word was before He was born.' The Incarnation is spoken of in words which would usually denote the eternal Generation: and if a candid reader could not be misled, yet an opportunity is given to the malevolent which Hilary or, indeed, any careful writer engaged in the Arian controversy would have avoided. The Commentary, then, is an early work, yet in no respect unworthy of its author. But though he had developed his characteristic thoughts before he began to write it, they are certainly less prominent here than in the treatises which followed. It is chiefly remarkable for its display of allegorical ingenuity. Its pages are full of fantastic interpretations of the kind which he had so great a share in introducing into Western Europe  . He started by it a movement which he would have been powerless to stop; that he was not altogether satisfied with the principle of allegory is shewn by the more modest use that he made of it when he composed, with fuller experience, the Homilies on the Psalms. It is, perhaps, only natural that there is little allegorism in the De Trinitate. Such a hot-house growth could not thrive in the keen air of controversy. As for the Commentary on St. Matthew, its chief influence has been indirect, in that St. Ambrose made large use of it in his own work upon the same Gospel. The consideration of Hilary's use of Scripture and of the place which it held in his system of theology is reserved for the next chapter, where illustrations from this Commentary are given.
About the year 350 Hilary was consecrated Bishop of Poitiers. So we may infer from his own words  that he had been a good while regenerate, and for some little time a bishop, on the eve of his exile in 356 a.d. Whether, like Ambrose, he was raised directly from lay life to the Episcopate cannot be known. It is at least possible that this was the case. His position as a bishop was one of great importance, and, as it must have seemed, free from special difficulties. There was a wide difference between the Church organisation of the Latin-speaking provinces of the Empire (with the exception of Central and Southern Italy and of Africa, in each of which a multitude of insignificant sees were dependent upon the autocracy of Rome and Carthage respectively) and that of the Greek-speaking provinces of the East. In the former there was a mere handful of dioceses, of huge geographical extent; in the latter every town, at least in the more civilised parts, had its bishop. The Western bishops were inevitably isolated from one another, and could exercise none of that constant surveillance over each other's orthodoxy which was, for evil as well as for good, so marked a feature of the Church life of the East. And the very greatness of their position gave them stability. The equipoise of power was too perfect, the hands in which it was vested too few, the men themselves, probably, too statesmanlike, for the Western Church to be infected with that nervous agitation which possessed the shifting multitudes of Eastern prelates, and made them suspicious and loquacious and disastrously eager for compromise. It was, in fact, the custom of the West to take the orthodoxy of its bishops for granted, and an external impulse was necessary before they could be overthrown. The two great sees with which Hilary was in immediate relation were those of Arles and Milan, and both were in Arian hands. But it needed the direct incitation of a hostile Emperor to set Saturninus against Hilary; and it was in vain that Hilary, in the floodtide of orthodox revival in the West, attacked Auxentius. The orthodox Emperor upheld the Arian, who survived Hilary by eight years and died in possession of his see. But this great and secure position of the Western bishop had its drawbacks. Hilary was conscious of its greatness  and strove to be worthy of it; but it was a greatness of responsibility to which neither he, nor any other man, could be equal. For in his eyes the bishop was still, as he had been in the little Churches of the past, and still might be in quiet places of the East or South, the sole priest, sacerdos  , of his flock. In his exile he reminds the Emperor that he is still distributing the communion through his presbyters to the Church. This survival can have had none but evil results. It put both bishop and clergy in a false position. The latter were degraded by the denial to them of a definite status and rights of their own. Authority without influence and information in lieu of knowledge was all for which the former could hope. And this lack of any organised means of influencing a wide-spread flock--such a diocese as that of Poitiers must have been several times as large as a rural diocese of England--prevented its bishop from creating any strong public opinion within it, unless he were an evangelist with the gifts of a Martin of Tours. It was impossible for him to excite in so unwieldy a district any popular enthusiasm or devotion to himself. Unlike an Athanasius, he could be deported into exile at the Emperor's will with as little commotion as the bishop of some petty half-Greek town in Asia Minor.
During the first years of Hilary's episcopate there was civil turmoil in Gaul, but the Church was at peace. While the Eastern ruler Constantius favoured the Arians, partly misled by unprincipled advisers and partly guided by an unwise, though honest, desire for compromise in the interests of peace, his brother Constans, who reigned in the West, upheld the Catholic cause, to which the immense majority of his clergy and people was attached. He was slain in January, 350, by the usurper Magnentius, who, with whatever motives, took the same side. It was certainly that which would best conciliate his own subjects; but he went further, and attempted to strengthen his precarious throne against the impending attack of Constantius by negotiations with the discontented Nicene Christians of the East. He tried to win over Athanasius, who was, however, too wise to listen; and, in any case, he gained nothing by tampering with the subjects of Constantius. Constantius defeated Magnentius, pursued him, and finally slew him on the 11th August, 353, and was then undisputed master not only of the East but of the West, which he proceeded to bring into ecclesiastical conformity, as far as he could, with his former dominions.
The general history of Arianism and the tendencies of Christian thought at this time have been so fully and admirably delineated in the introduction to the translation of St. Athanasius in this series  , that it would be superfluous and presumptuous to go over the same ground. It must suffice to say that Constantius was animated with a strong personal hatred against Athanasius, and that the prelates at his court seem to have found their chief employment in intrigues for the expulsion of bishops, whose seats might be filled by friends of their own. Athanasius was a formidable antagonist, from his strong position in Alexandria, even to an Emperor; and Constantius was attempting to weaken him by creating an impression that he was unworthy of the high esteem in which he was held. Even in the East, as yet, the Nicene doctrine was not avowedly rejected; still less could the doctrinal issue be raised in Gaul, where the truths stated in the Nicene Creed were regarded as so obvious that the Creed itself had excited little interest or attention. Hilary at this time had never heard it  , though nearly thirty years had passed since the Council decreed it. But there were personal charges against Athanasius, of which he has himself given us a full and interesting account  , which had done him, and were to do him, serious injury. They had been disproved publicly and completely more than once, and with great solemnity and apparent finality ten years before this, at Sardica in 343 a.d. But in a distant province, aided by the application of sufficient pressure, they might serve their turn, and if the Emperor could obtain his enemy's condemnation, and that in a region whose theological sympathies were notoriously on his side, a great step would be gained towards his expulsion from Egypt. No time was lost. In October, 353, a Council was called at Arles to consider the charges. It suited Constantius' purpose well that Saturninus of Arles, bishop of the most important see in Gaul, and the natural president, was both a courtier and an Arian. He did his work well. The assembled bishops believed, or were induced to profess that they believed, that the charges against Athanasius were not made in the interests of his theological opponents, and that the Emperor's account of them was true. The decision, condemning the accused, was almost unanimous. Even the representative of Liberius of Rome consented, to be disavowed on his return; and only one bishop, Paulinus of Treves, suffered exile for resistance. He may have been the only advocate for Athanasius, or Constantius may have thought that one example would suffice to terrify the episcopate of Gaul into submission. It is impossible to say whether Hilary was present at the Council or no. It is not probable that he was absent: and his ignorance, even later, on important points in the dispute shows that he may well have given an honest verdict against Athanasius. The new ruler's word had been given that he was guilty; nothing can yet have been known against Constantius and much must have been hoped from him. It was only natural that he should obtain the desired decision. Two years followed, during which the Emperor was too busy with warfare on the frontiers of Gaul to proceed further in the matter of Athanasius. But in the Autumn of 355 he summoned a Council at Milan, a city whose influence over Gaul was so great that it might almost be called the ecclesiastical capital of that country. Here again strong pressure was used, and the verdict given as Constantius desired. Hilary was not present at this Council; he was by this time aware of the motives of Constantius and the courtier bishops, and would certainly have shared in the opposition offered, and probably in the exile inflicted upon three of the leaders in it. These were Dionysius of Milan, who disappears from history, his place being taken by Hilary's future enemy, Auxentius, and Eusebius of Vercelli and Lucifer of Cagliari, both of whom were to make their mark in the future.
By this time Hilary had definitely taken his side, and it will be well to consider his relation to the parties in the controversy. And first as to Arianism. As we have seen, Arian prelates were now in possession of the two great sees of Arles and Milan in his own neighbourhood; and Arianisers of different shades, or at least men tolerant of Arianism, held a clear majority of the Eastern bishoprics, except in the wholly Catholic Egypt. But it is certain that, in the West at any rate, the fundamental difference of the Arian from the Catholic position was not generally recognised. Arian practice and Arian practical teaching was indistinguishable from Catholic; and unless ultimate principles were questioned, Catholic clergy might work, and the multitudes of Catholic laity might live and die, without knowing that their bishop's creed was different from their own. The Abbé Duchesne has made the very probable suggestion that the stately Ambrosian ritual of Milan was really introduced from the East by Auxentius, the Arian intruder from Cappadocia, of whom we have spoken  . Arian Baptism and the Arian Eucharist were exactly the same as the Catholic. They were not sceptical; they accepted all current beliefs or superstitions, and had their own confessors and workers of miracles  . The Bible was common ground to both parties: each professed its confidence that it had the support of Scripture. "No false system ever struck more directly at the life of Christianity than Arianism. Yet after all it held aloft the Lord's example as the Son of Man, and never wavered in its worship of Him as the Son of God  ." And the leaders of this school were in possession of many of the great places of the Church, and asserted that they had the right to hold them; that if they had not the sole right, at least they had as good a right as the Catholics, to be bishops, and yet to teach the doctrine that Christ was a creature, not the Son. And what made things worse was that they seemed to be at one with the Catholics, and that it was possible, and indeed almost inevitable, that the multitudes who did not look below the surface should be satisfied to take them for what they seemed. Many of the Arians no doubt honestly thought that their position was a tenable one, and held their offices with a good conscience; but we cannot wonder that men like Athanasius and Hilary, aware of the sophistical nature of many of the arguments used, and knowing that some, at least, of the leaders were unscrupulous adventurers, should have regarded all Arianism and all Arians as deliberately dishonest. It seemed incredible that they could be sincerely at home in the Church, and intolerable that they should have the power of deceiving the people and persecuting true believers. It is against Arianism in the church that Hilary's efforts are directed, not against Arianism as an external heresy. He ignores heresies outside the Church as completely as does Cyprian; they are outside, and therefore he has nothing to do with them. But Arianism, as represented by an Auxentius or a Saturninus, is an internum malum  ; and to the extirpation of this `inward evil' the remaining years of his life were to be devoted.
His own devotion, from the time of his conversion to the Catholic Faith, which almost all around him held, was not the less sincere because it did not find its natural expression in the Nicene Creed. That document, which primarily concerned only bishops, and them only when their orthodoxy was in question, was hardly known in the West, where the bishops had as yet had little occasion for doubting one another's faith. Hilary had never heard it,--he can hardly have avoided hearing of it,--till just before his exile. In his earlier conflicts he rarely mentions it, and when he does it is in connection with the local circumstances of the East. In later life he, with Western Christendom at large, recognised its value as a rallying point for the faithful; but even then there is no attachment to the Creed for its own sake. It might almost seem that the Creed, by his defence of which Athanasius has earned such glory, owed its original celebrity to him rather than he to it. His unjust persecution and heroic endurance excited interest in the symbol of which he was the champion. If it were otherwise, there has been a strange conspiracy of silence among Western theologians. In their great works on the Trinity, Hilary most rarely, and Augustine never, allude to it; the Council of Aquileia, held in the same interests and almost at the same time as that of Constantinople in 381, absolutely ignores it  . The Creed, in the year 355, was little known in the West and unpopular in the East. Even Athanasius kept it somewhat in the background, from reasons of prudence, and Hilary's sympathies, as we shall see, were with the Eastern School which could accept the truth, though they disliked this expression of it.
The time had now come for Hilary, holding these views of Arianism and of the Faith, to take an active part in the conflict. We have seen that he was not at Milan; he was therefore not personally compromised, but the honour of the Church compelled him to move. He exerted himself to induce the bishops of Gaul to withdraw from communion with Saturninus, and with Ursacius and Valens, disciples of Arius during his exile on the banks of the Danube thirty years before, and now high in favour with Constantius, and his ministers, we might almost say, for the ecclesiastical affairs of the Western provinces. We do not know how many bishops were enlisted by Hilary against Saturninus. It is probable that not many would follow him in so bold a venture; even men of like mind with himself might well think it unwise. It was almost a revolutionary act; an importation of the methods of Eastern controversy into the peaceful West, for this was not the constitutional action of a synod but the private venture of Hilary and his allies. However righteous and necessary, in the interests of morality and religion, their conduct may have seemed to them, to Constantius and his advisers it must have appeared an act of defiance to the law, both of Church and State. And Hilary would certainly not win favour with the Emperor by his letter of protest, the First Epistle to Constantius, written about the end of the year 355. He adopts the usual tone of the time, that of exaggerated laudation and even servility towards the Emperor. Such language was, of course, in great measure conventional; we know from Cicero's letters how little superlatives, whether of flattery or abuse, need mean, and language had certainly not grown more sincere under the Empire. The letter was, in fact, a singularly bold manifesto, and one which Hilary himself must have foreseen was likely to bring upon him the punishment which had befallen the recusants at Arles and Milan. He begins (§ 1) in studiously general terms, making no mention of the provinces in which the offenses were being committed, with a complaint of the tyrannical interference of civil officers in religious matters. If there is to be peace (§ 2), there must be liberty; Catholics must not be forced to become Arians. The voice of resistance was being raised; men were beginning to say that it was better to die than to see the faith defiled at the bidding of an individual. Equity required that God-fearing men should not suffer by compulsory intercourse with the teachers of execrable blasphemy, but be allowed bishops whom they could obey with a good conscience. Truth and falsehood, light and darkness could not combine. He entreated the Emperor to allow the people to choose for themselves to what teachers they would listen, with whom they would join in the Eucharist and in prayer for him. Next (§ 3) he denies that there is any purpose of treason, or any discontent. The only disturbance is that caused by Arian propagators of heresy, who are busily engaged in misleading the ignorant. He now (§ 4) prays that the excellent bishops who have been sent into exile may be restored; liberty and joy would be the result. Then (§ 5) he attacks the modern and deadly Arian pestilence. Borrowing, somewhat incautiously, the words of the Council of Sardica, now twelve years old, he gives a list of Arian chiefs which ends with "those two ignorant and unprincipled youths, Ursacius and Valens." Communion with such men as these, even communion in ignorance, is a participation in their guilt, a fatal sin. He proceeds, in § 6, to combine denunciation of the atrocities committed in Egypt with a splendid plea for liberty of conscience; it is equally vain and wicked to attempt to drive men into Arianism, and an enforced faith is, in any case, worthless. The Arians (§ 7) were themselves legally convicted long ago and Athanasius acquitted; it is a perversion of justice that the condemned should now be intriguing against one so upright and so faithful to the truth. And lastly (§ 8) he comes to the wrong just done at Milan, and tells the well-known story of the violence practiced upon Eusebius of Vercelli and others in the `Synagogue of malignants,' as he calls it. Here also he takes occasion to speak of Paulinus of Treves, exiled for his resistance at Arles two years before, where he "had withstood the monstrous crimes of those men." The conclusion of the letter is unfortunately lost, and there are one or more gaps in the body of it; these, we may judge, would only have made it more unacceptable to Constantius.
It was, indeed, from the Emperor's point of view, a most provocatory Epistle. He and his advisers were convinced that compromise was the way of peace. They had no quarrel with the orthodoxy of the West, if only that orthodoxy would concede that Arianisers were entitled to office in the Church, or would at least be silent; and they were animated by a persistent hatred of Athanasius. Moreover, the whole tendency of thought, since Constantine began to favour the Church, had run towards glorification of the Emperor as the vice-regent of God; and the orthodox had had their full share in encouraging the idea. That a bishop, with no status to justify his interference, should renounce communion with his own superior, the Emperor's friend, at Arles; should forbid the officers of state to rneddle in the Church's affairs, and demand an entirely new thing, recognition by the state as lawful members of the Church while yet they rejected the prelates whom the state recognised; should declare that peace was impossible because the conflicting doctrines were as different as light and darkness, and that the Emperor's friends were execrable heretics; should assert, while denying that he or his friends had any treasonable purpose, that men were ready to die rather than submit; should denounce two Councils, lawfully held, and demand reinstatement of those who had opposed the decision of those Councils; should, above all, take the part of Athanasius, now obviously doomed to another exile;--all this must have savoured of rebellion. And rebellion was no imaginary danger. We have seen that Magnentius had tried to enlist Athanasius on his side against the Arian Emperor. Constantius was but a new ruler over Gaul, and had no claim, through services rendered, to its loyalty. He might reasonably construe Hilary's words into a threat that the orthodox of Gaul would, if their wishes were disregarded, support an orthodox pretender. And there was a special reason for suspicion. At this very time Constantius had just conferred the government of the West upon his cousin Julian, who was installed as Cæsar on the 6th November, 355. From the first, probably, Constantius distrusted Julian, and Julian certainly distrusted Constantius. Thus it might well seem that the materials were ready for an explosion; that a disloyal Cæsar would find ready allies in discontented Catholics.
We cannot wonder that Hilary's letter had no effect upon the policy of Constantius. It is somewhat surprising that several months elapsed before he was punished. In the spring of the year 356 Saturninus presided at a Council held at Béziers, at which Hilary was, he tells us, compelled to attend. In what the compulsion consisted we do not know. It may simply have been that he was summoned to attend; a summons which he could not with dignity refuse, knowing, as he must have done, that charges would be brought against himself. Of the proceedings of the Synod we know little. The complaints against Hilary concerned his conduct, not his faith. This latter was, of course, above suspicion, and it was not the policy of the court party to attack orthodoxy in Gaul. He seems to have been charged with exciting popular discontent; and this, as we have seen, was an accusation which his own letter had rendered plausible. He tried to raise the question of the Faith, challenging the doctrine of his opponents. But though a large majority of a council of Gallic bishops would certainly be in sympathy with him, he had no success. Their position was not threatened; Hilary, like Paulinus, was accused of no doctrinal error, and these victims of Constantius, if they had raised no questions concerning their neighbours' faith and made no objections to the Emperor's tyranny, might also have passed their days in peace. The tone of the episcopate in Gaul was, in fact, by no means heroic. If we may trust Sulpicius Severus  , in all these Councils the opposition was prepared to accept the Emperor's word about Athanasius, and excommunicate him, if the general question of the Faith might be discussed. But the condition was evaded, and the issue never frankly raised; and, if it was cowardly, it was not unnatural that Hilary should have been condemned by the Synod, and condemned almost unanimously. Only Rodanius of Toulouse was punished with him; the sufferers would certainly have been more numerous had there been any strenuous remonstrance against the injustice. The Synod sent their decision to the Cæsar Julian, their immediate ruler. Julian took no action; he may have felt that the matter was too serious for him to decide without reference to the Emperor, but it is more likely that he had no wish to outrage the dominant Church feeling of Gaul and alienate sympathies which he might need in the future. In any case he refused to pass a sentence which he must have known would be in accordance with the Emperor's desire; and the vote of the Synod, condemning Hilary, was sent to Constantius himself. He acted upon it at once, and in the summer of the same year, 356, Hilary was exiled to the diocese, or civil district comprising several provinces, of Asia.
We now come to the most important period of Hilary's life. He was already, as we have seen, a Greek scholar and a follower of Greek theology. He was now to come into immediate contact with the great problems of the day in the field on which they were being constantly debated. And he was well prepared to take his part. He had formed his own convictions before he was acquainted with homoousion, homoiousion or the Nicene Creed  . He was therefore in full sympathy with Athanasius on the main point. And his manner of treating the controversy shews that the policy of Athanasius was also, in a great measure, his. Like Athanasius, he spares Marcellus as much as possible. We know that Athanasius till the end refused to condemn him, though one of the most formidable weapons in the armoury of the Anti-Nicene party was the conjunction in which they could plausibly put their two names, as those of the most strenuous opponents of Arianism. Similarly Hilary never names Marcellus  , as he never names Apollinaris, though he had the keenest sense of the danger involved in either heresy, and argues forcibly and often against both. Like Athanasius again, he has no mercy upon Photinus the disciple, while he spares Marcellus the master; and it is a small, though clear, sign of dependence that he occasionally applies Athanasius' nickname of Ariomanitæ, or `Arian lunatics,' to his opponents. It is certain that Hilary was familiar with the writings of Athanasius, and borrowed freely from them. But so little has yet been done towards ascertaining the progress of Christian thought and the extent of each writer's contribution to it, that it is impossible to say which arguments were already current and may have been independently adopted by Hilary and by Athanasius, and for which the former is indebted to the latter  . Yet it is universally recognised that the debt exists; and Hilary's greatness as a theologian  , his mastery of the subject, would embolden him to borrow and adapt the more freely that he was dealing as with an equal and a fellow-combatant in the same cause.
Athanasius and Hilary can never have met face to face. But the eyes and the agents of Athanasius were everywhere, and he must have known something of the exile and of the services of Hilary, who was, of course, well acquainted with the history of Athanasius, though, with the rest of Gaul, he may not have been whole-hearted in his defence. And now he was the more likely to be drawn towards him because this was the time of his approximation to the younger generation of the Conservative School. For it is with them that Hilary's affinities are closest and most obvious. The great Cappadocians were devoted Origenists--we know the service they rendered to their master by the publication of the Philocalia,--and there could be no stronger bond of union between Hilary and themselves. They were the outgrowth of that great Asiatic school to which the name of Semiarians, somewhat unkindly given by Epiphanius, has clung, and which was steadily increasing in influence over the thought of Asia, the dominant province, at this time, of the whole Empire. Gregory of Nazianzus, the eldest of the three great writers, was probably not more than twenty-five years of age when Hilary was sent into exile, and none of them can have seriously affected even his latest works. But they represented, in a more perfect form, the teaching of the best men of the Conservative School; and when we find that Hilary, who was old enough to be the father of Basil and the two Gregories, has thoughts in common with them which are not to be found in Athanasius, we may safely assign this peculiar teaching to the influence upon Hilary, predisposed by his loyalty to Origen to listen to the representatives of the Origenist tradition, of this school of theology. We see one side of this influence in Hilary's understatement of the doctrine of the Holy Ghost. The Semiarians were coming to be of one mind with the Nicenes as to the consubstantial Deity of the Son; none of them, in all probability, at this time would have admitted the consubstantial Deity of the Spirit, and the unity of their School was to be wrecked in future years upon this point. The fact that Hilary could use language so reserved upon this subject must have led them to welcome his alliance the more heartily. Neither he nor they could foresee the future of the doctrine, and both sides must have sincerely thought that they were at one. And, indeed, on Hilary's part there was a great willingness to believe in this unity, which led him, as we shall see, into an unfortunate attempt at ecclesiastical diplomacy. Another evidence of contact with this Eastern School, but at its most advanced point, is the remarkable expression, `Only-begotten God,' which Hilary `employs with startling freedom, evidently as the natural expression of his own inmost thought  .' Dr. Hort, whose words these are, states that the term is used by Athanasius only twice, once in youth and once in old age; but that, on the other hand, it is familiar to two of the Cappadocians, Basil and Gregory of Nyssa. They must have learned it from some Asiatic writer known to Hilary as a contemporary, to them as successors. And when we find Hilary  rejecting the baptism of heretics, and so putting himself in opposition to what had been the Roman view for a century and that of Gaul since the Council of Arles in 314, and then find this opinion echoed by Gregory of Nazianzus  , we are reminded not only of Hilary's general independence of thought, but of the circumstance that St. Cyprian found his stoutest ally in contesting this same point in the Cappadocian Firmilian. A comparison of the two sets of writings would probably lead to the discovery of more coincidences than have yet been noticed; of the fact itself, of `the Semiarian influence so visible in the De Synodis of Hilary, and even in his own later work  ,' there can be no doubt.
With these affinities, with an adequate knowledge of the Greek language and a strong sympathy, as well as a great familiarity, with Greek modes of thought, Hilary found himself in the summer of the year 356 an exile in Asia Minor. It was exile in the most favourable circumstances. He was still bishop of Poitiers, recognised as such by the government, which only forbade him, for reasons of state ostensibly not connected with theology, to reside within his diocese. He held free communication with his fellow-bishops in Gaul, and was allowed to administer his own diocese, so far as administration by letter was possible, without interruption. And his diocese did not forget him. We learn from Sulpicius Severus  that he and the others of the little band of exiles, who had suffered at Arles, and Milan, and Béziers, were the heroes of the day in their own country. That orthodox bishops should suffer for the Faith was a new thing in the West; we cannot wonder that subsidies were raised for their support and delegations sent to assure them of the sympathy of their flocks. To a man like Hilary, of energy and ability, of recognised episcopal rank and unimpeached orthodoxy, the position offered not less but more opportunities of service than hitherto he had enjoyed. For no restriction was put upon his movements, so long as he kept within the wide bounds allotted him. He had perfect leisure for travel or for study, the money needed for the expense of his journeys, and something of the glory, still very real, with which the confessor was invested. And his movements were confined to the very region where he could learn most concerning the question of the hour, and do most for its solution. In fact, in sending Hilary into such an exile as this, Constantius had done too much, or too little; he had injured, and not advanced, his own favourite cause of unity by way of compromise. In this instance, as in those of Arius and Athanasius and many others, exile became an efficacious means for the spreading and strengthening of convictions. If Hilary had no great success, as we shall see, in the Council which he attended, yet his presence, during these critical years, in a region where men were gradually advancing to the fuller truth cannot have been without influence upon their spiritual growth; and his residence in Asia no doubt confirmed and enriched his own apprehension of the Faith.
It is certain that Hilary was busily engaged in writing his great work upon the Trinity, and that some parts of it were actually published, during his exile. But as this work in its final form would appear to belong to the next stage of Hilary's life, it will be well to postpone its consideration for the present, and proceed at once to his share in the conciliar action of the time. We have no information concerning his conduct before the year 358, but it is necessary to say something about the important events which preceded his publication of the De Synodis and his participation in the Council of Seleucia.
It was a time when new combinations of parties were being formed. Arianism was shewing itself openly, as it had not dared to do since Nicæa. In 357 Hilary's adversaries, Ursacius and Valens, in a Synod at Sirmium, published a creed which was Arian without concealment; it was, indeed, as serious a blow to the Emperor's policy of compromise as anything that Athanasius or Hilary had ventured. But it was the work of friends of the Emperor, and shewed that, for the moment at any rate, the Court had been won over to the extreme party. But the forces of Conservatism were still the strongest. Within a few months, early in 358, the great Asiatic prelates, soon to be divided over the question of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit but still at one, Basil of Ancyra, Macedonius and others, met at Ancyra and repudiated Arianism while ignoring, after their manner, the Nicene definition. Then their delegates proceeded to the Court, now at Sirmium, and won Constantius back to his old position. Ursacius and Valens, who had no scruples, signed a Conservative creed, as did the weak Liberius of Rome, anxious to escape from an exile to which he had been consigned soon after the banishment of Hilary. It was a great triumph to have induced so prominent a bishop to minimise--we cannot say that he denied--his own belief and that of the Western churches. And the Asiatic leaders were determined to have the spoils of victory. Liberius, of course, was allowed to return home, for he had proved compliant, and the Conservatives had no quarrel with those who held the homoousion. But the most prominent of the Arian leaders, those who had the courage of their conviction, to the number, it is said, of seventy, were exiled. It is true that Constantius was quickly persuaded by other influences to restore them; but the theological difference was embittered by the sense of personal injury, and further conflicts rendered inevitable between Conservatives and Arians.
It was with this Conservative party, victorious for the moment, that Hilary had to deal. Its leaders, and especially Basil of Ancyra, had the ear of the Emperor, and seemed to hold the future of the Church in their hands. Hilary was on friendly terms with Basil, with whom, as we have seen, he had much in common, and corresponded on his behalf with the Western Bishops. He was, indeed, by the peculiar combination in him of the Eastern and the Western, perhaps the only man who could have played the part he undertook. He was thoroughly and outspokenly orthodox, yet had no prejudice in favour of the Nicene definition. He would have been content, like the earlier generation of Eastern bishops, with a simple formulary; the Apostles' Creed, the traditional standard of the West, satisfied the exigencies even of his own precise thought. And if a personal jealousy of Athanasius and his school on the part of the Asiatic Conservatives was one of the chief obstacles to peace, here again Hilary had certain advantages. We have seen that there was no personal communication between him and Athanasius; he could ignore, and may even have been ignorant of, the antipathy of Asia to Alexandria. And he was no absolute follower of Athanasius' teaching. We saw that in some important respects he was an independent thinker, and that in others he is on common ground with the Cappadocians, the heirs of the best thought of such men as Basil of Ancyra. Nor could he labour under any suspicion of being involved in the heresy of Marcellus. It was an honourable tradition of Eastern Christendom to guard against the recrudescence of such heresy as his, which revived the fallacies of Paul of Samosata and of Sabellius, and seemed in Asia the most formidable of all possible errors. Marcellus had forged it as a weapon in defence of the Nicene faith; and if his doctrine were among the most formidable antagonists of Arianism, it may well have seemed that there was not much to choose between the two. And while Athanasius had never condemned Marcellus, and the West had more than once pronounced him innocent, the general feeling of the East was decisively against him, and deeply suspicious of any appearance of sympathy with him. And further, by one of those complications of personal with theological opposition which were so sadly frequent, Basil was in possession of that very see of Ancyra from which the heretic Marcellus had been expelled. Hilary, who was unconcerned in all this, saw a new hope for the Church in his Asiatic friends, and his own tendencies of thought must have been a welcome surprise to them, accustomed as they were to suspect Sabellianism in the West. The prospect, indeed, was at first sight a fair one. The faith, it seemed, might be upheld by imperial support, now that it had advocates who were not prejudiced in the Emperor's eyes as was Athanasius; and Athanasius himself, accredited by the testimony of Asia, might recover his position. Yet Hilary was building on an unsound foundation. The Semiarian party was not united. Hilary may not have suspected, or may, in his zeal for the cause, have concealed from himself the fact, that in the doctrine of the Holy Ghost there lay the seeds of a strife which was soon to divide his allies as widely as Arius was separated from Athanasius. And these allies, as a body, were not worthy supporters of the truth. There were many sincere men among them, but these were mixed with adventurers, who used the conflict as a means of attaining office, with as few scruples as any of the other prelates who hung around the court. But the fatal obstacle to success was that the whole plan depended on the favour of Constantius. For the moment Basil and his friends possessed this, but their adversaries were men of greater dexterity and fewer scruples than they. Valens and Ursacius and their like were doing their utmost to retrieve defeat and enjoy revenge. It is significant that Athanasius, as it seems, had no share in Hilary's hopes and schemes for drawing East and West together. He had an unrivalled knowledge of the circumstances, and an open mind, willing to see good in the Semiarians; had the plan contained the elements of success it would have received his warm support.
Hilary threw himself heartily into it. He travelled, we know, extensively; so much so, that his letters from Gaul failed to reach him in the year 358. This was a serious matter. We have seen that the exiles from the West had derived great support from their flocks. Hilary's own weight as a negotiator must have depended upon the general knowledge that he did not stand alone, but represented the public opinion of a great province. For this reason, as well as for his own peace of mind, it must have been a welcome relief to him to learn, when letters came at last, that his friends had not forgotten or deserted him; and he seized the opportunity of reply to send to the bishops of all the Gallic provinces and of Britain the circular letter which we call the De Synodis, translated in this volume. The Introduction to it, here given, makes it unnecessary to describe its contents. It may suffice to say that it is an able and well-written attempt to explain the Eastern position to Western theologians. He shews that the Eastern creeds, which had been composed since the Nicene, were susceptible of an orthodox meaning, and felicitously brings out their merits by contrast with the unmitigated heresy of the second creed of Sirmium, which he cites at full length. It must be admitted that there is a certain amount of special pleading; that his eyes are resolutely shut to any other aspect of the documents than that which he is commending to the attention of his readers in Gaul. And he is as boldly original in his rendering of history as of doctrine. He actually describes the Council of the Dedication, which confirmed the deposition of Athanasius and propounded a compromising creed, definitely intended to displace the Nicene, as an `assembly of the saints  .' The West, we know, cared little for Eastern disputes and formularies. There can have been no great risk that Hilary's praise should revolt the minds of his friends, and as little hope that it would excite any enthusiasm among them. This description, and a good deal else in the De Synodis, was obviously meant to be read in the land where it was written. When all possible allowance is made for his sympathy with the best men among the Asiatics, and for the hopefulness with which he might naturally regard his allies, it is still impossible to think that he was quite sincere in asserting that their object in compiling ambiguous creeds was the suppression of Sabellianism and not the rejection of the homoousion. Yet it was natural enough that he should write as he did, for the prospect must have seemed most attractive. If this open letter could convince the Eastern bishops that they were regarded in the West not with suspicion, as teachers of the inferiority of Christ, but with admiration, as steadfast upholders of His reality, a great step was made towards union. And if Hilary could persuade his brethren in Gaul that the imperfect terms in which the East was accustomed to express its faith in Christ were compatible with sound belief, an approach could be made from that side also. And in justice to Hilary we must bear in mind that he does not fall into the error of Liberius. It was a serious fault for a Western bishop to abandon words which were, for him and for his Church, the recognised expression of the truth; it was a very different matter to argue that inadequate terms, in the mouth of those who were unhappily pledged to the use of them, might contain the saving Faith. This latter is the argument which Hilary uses. He urges the East to advance to the definiteness of the Nicene confession; he urges the West to welcome the first signs of such an advance, and meantime to recognise the truth that was half-concealed in their ambiguous documents. The attempt was a bold one, and met, as was inevitable, with severe criticism from the side of uncompromising orthodoxy, which we may for the moment leave unnoticed. What Athanasius thought of the treatise we do not know; it would be unsafe to conjecture that his own work, which bears the same title and was written in the following year, when the futility of the hope which had buoyed Hilary up had been demonstrated, was a silent criticism upon the De Synodisof the other. It is, at least, a success in itself, and was a step towards the ultimate victory of truth; we cannot say as much of Hilary's effort, admirable though its intention was, and though it must have contributed something to the softening of asperities. But Alexandria and Gaul were distant, and while the one excited repugnance in the Emperor's mind, the other had little influence with him. The decision seemed to lie in the hands of Basil of Ancyra and his colleagues. The men who had the ear of Constantius, and had lately induced him to banish the Arians, must in consistency use their influence for the restoration of exiles who were suffering for their opposition to Arianism; and this influence, if only the West would heartily join with them, would be strong enough to secure even the restoration of Athanasius. Such thoughts were certainly present in the mind of Hilary when he painted so bright a picture of Eastern Councils, and represented Constantius as an innocent believer, once misguided but now returned to the Faith  . From the Semiarian leaders, controlling the policy of Constantius, he expected peace for the Church, restoration of the exiles, the suppression of Arianism. And if to some extent he deceived himself, and was willing to believe and to persuade others that men's faith and purpose differed from what in fact it was, we must remember that it was a time of passionate earnestness, when cool judgment concerning friend or foe was almost impossible for one who was involved in that great conflict concerning the Divinity of Christ.
But the times were not ripe for an understanding between East and West, and the Asiatics in whom Hilary had put his trust were not, and did not deserve to be, the restorers of the Church. Their victory had been complete, but the Emperor was inconstant and their adversaries were men of talent, who had once guided his counsels and knew how to recover their position. The policy of Constantius was, as we know, one of compromise, and it might seem to him that the prevailing confusion would cease if only a sufficiently comprehensive formula could be devised and accepted. `Specious charity and colourless indefiniteness  ' was the policy of the new party, formed by Valens and Arians of every shade, which won the favour of Constantius within a year of the Semiarian victory. They had been mortified, had been forced to sign a confession which they disbelieved, many of them had suffered a momentary exile. Now they were to have their revenge; not only were the terms of communion to be so lax that extreme Arianism should be at home within the Church, but, as in a modern change of ministry, the Semiarians were to yield their sees to their opponents. To attain these ends a Council was necessary. The general history of the Homoean intrigues, of their division of the forces opposed to them by the assembling of a Western Council at Rimini, of an Eastern at Seleucia, and their apparent triumph, gained by shameless falsehood, in the former, would be out of place. Hilary and his Asiatic friends were concerned only with the Council which met at Seleucia in September, 359. The Emperor, who hoped for a final settlement, desired that the Council should be as large as possible, and the governors of provinces exerted themselves to collect bishops, and to forward them to Seleucia, as was usual, at the public expense. Among the rest, Hilary, who was, we must remember, a bishop with a diocese of his own, and of unimpugned orthodoxy, exiled ostensibly for a political offence, received orders to attend at the cost of the State  . In the Council, which numbered some 160 bishops, his Semiarian friends were in a majority of three to one; the uncompromising Nicenes of Egypt and the uncompromising Arians, taken together, did not number more than a quarter of the whole. Hilary was welcomed heartily and, as it would seem, unanimously; but he had to disclaim, on behalf of the Church in Gaul, the Sabellianism of which it was suspected, and with some reason after the Western welcome of Marcellus. He stated his faith to the satisfaction of the Council in accordance with the Nicene confession  . We cannot doubt that he made use of its very words, for Hilary was not the man to retreat from the position he held, and the terms of his alliance with the school of Basil of Ancyra required no such renunciation. The proceedings of the Council, in which Hilary took no public part, may be omitted. The Semiarians, strong in numbers and, as they still thought, in the Emperor's favour, swept everything before them. They adopted the ambiguous creed of the Council of the Dedication,--that Council which Hilary had lately called an `assembly of the Saints'--for the Nicenes were a powerless minority; and they repeated their sentence of excommunication upon the Arians, who were still fewer in number. They even ventured to consecrate a successor to Eudoxius, one of the most extreme, for the great Church of Antioch. Then the Council elected a commission of ten of the leaders of the majority to present to the Emperor a report of its proceedings, and dispersed. In spite of some ominous signs of obstinacy on the part of the Arians, and of favour towards them shown by the government officials, they seemed to have succeeded in establishing still more firmly the results attained at Ancyra two years before, and to have struck another and, as they might hope, a more effectual blow at the heretics.
But when the deputation, with whom Hilary travelled, reached Constantinople, they found that the position was entirely different from their expectation. The intriguing party, whose aim was to punish and displace the Semiarians, had contrived a double treason. They misrepresented the Western Council to the Emperor as in agreement with themselves; and they sacrificed their more honest colleagues in Arianism. They hated those who, like Basil of Ancyra, maintained the homoiousion, the doctrine that the Son is of like nature with the Father; the Emperor sincerely rejected the logical Arianism which said that He is of unlike nature. They abandoned their friends in order to induce Constantius to sacrifice his old Semiarian advisers; and proposed with success their new Homoean formula, that the Son is `like the Father in all things, as Scripture says.' His nature is not mentioned; the last words were a concession to the scruples of the Emperor. We shall see presently that this rupture with the consistent Arians is a matter of some importance for the dating of Hilary's De Trinitate; for the present we must follow the fortunes of himself and his allies. He had journeyed with them to Constantinople. This was, apparently, a breach of the order given him to confine himself to the diocese of Asia; but he had already been commanded to go to Seleucia, which lay beyond those limits, and his journey to Constantinople may have been regarded as a legitimate sequel to his former journey. In any case he was not molested, and was allowed to appear, with the deputation from Seleucia, at the Court of Constantius. For the last two months of the year 359 the disputes concerning the Faith still continued. But the Emperor was firm in his determination to bring about a compromise which should embrace every one who was not an extreme and conscientious Arian, and the Homoean leaders supported him ably and unscrupulously. They falsified the sense of the Council of Rimini and denied their own Arianism, and Constantius backed them up by threats against the Seleucian deputation. Hilary, of course, had no official position, and could speak only for himself. The Western Church seemed to have decided against its own faith, and the decision of the East, represented by the ten delegates, was not yet declared, though it must have been probable that they would succumb to the pressure exercised upon them, and desert their own convictions and those of the Council whose commission they held. In these circumstances Hilary had the courage, which we cannot easily overestimate, to make a personal appeal to Constantius  . It is evident that as yet he is hopeful, or at least that he thinks it worth while to make an attempt. He writes with the same customary humility which we found in his former address to the Emperor. Constantius is `most pious,' `good and religious,' `most gracious,' and so forth. The sincerity of the appeal is manifest; Hilary still believes, or is trying to believe, that the Emperor, who had so lately been on the side of Basil of Ancyra and his friends, and had at their instigation humiliated and exiled their opponents, has not transferred his favour once more to the party of Valens. The address is written with great dignity of style and of matter. Hilary begins by declaring that the importance of his theme is such that it enforces attention, however insignificant the speaker may be; yet (§ 2) his position entitles him to speak. He is a bishop, in communion with all the churches and bishops of Gaul, and to that very day distributing the Eucharist by the hands of his presbyters to his own Church. He is in exile, it is true, but he is guiltless; falsely accused by designing men who had gained the Emperor's ear. He appeals to Julian's knowledge of his innocence; indeed, the malice of his opponents had inflicted less of suffering upon himself than of discredit upon the administration of Julian, under which he had been condemned. The Emperor's rescript sentencing Hilary to exile was public; it was notorious that the charges upon which the sentence was based were false. Saturninus, the active promoter, if not the instigator, of the attack, was now in Constantinople. Hilary confidently promises to demonstrate that the proceedings were a deception of Constantius, and an insult to Julian; if he fails, he will no longer petition to be allowed to return to the exercise of his office, but will retire to pass the rest of his days as a layman in repentance. To this end he asks to be confronted with Saturninus (§ 3), or rather takes for granted that Constantius will do as he wishes. He leaves the Emperor to determine all the conditions of the debate, in which, as he repeats, he will wring from Saturninus the confession of his falsehood. Meanwhile he promises to be silent upon the subject till the appointed time. Next, he turns to the great subject of the day. The world's danger, the guilt of silence, the judgment of God, fill him with fear; he is constrained to speak when his own salvation and that of the Emperor and of mankind is at stake, and encouraged by the consciousness of multitudes who sympathise with him. He bids the Emperor (§ 4) call back to his mind the Faith which (so he says) Constantius is longing in vain to hear from his bishops. Those whose duty is to proclaim the Faith of God are employed, instead, in composing faiths of their own, and so they revolve in an endless circle of error and of strife. The sense of human infirmity ought to have made them content to hold the Faith in the same form of words in which they had received it. At their baptism they had professed and sworn their faith, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; doubt or change are equally unlawful. Yet men were using the sacred words while they dishonestly assigned to them another meaning, or even were daring to depart from them. Thus to some the three sacred Names were empty terms. Hence innovations in the statement of the Faith; the search for novelties took the place of loyalty to ancient truth, and the creed of the year displaced the creed of the Gospels. Every one framed his confession according to his own desire or his own character; while creeds were multiplying, the one Faith was perishing. Since the Council of Nicæa (§ 5) there had been no end to this writing of creeds. So busily were men wrangling over words, seeking novelties, debating knotty points, forming factions and pursuing ambitions, refusing to agree and hurling anathemas at one another, that almost all had drifted away from Christ. The confusion was such that none could either teach or learn in safety. Within the last year no less than four contradictory creeds had been promulgated. There was no single point of the Faith which they or their fathers had held upon which violent hands had not been laid. And the pitiful creed which for the moment held the field was that the Son is `like the Father'; whether this likeness were perfect or imperfect was left in obscurity. The result of constant change and ceaseless dispute was self-contradiction and mutual destruction. This search for a faith (§ 6) involved the assumption that the true Faith was not ready to the believer's hand. They would have it in writing, as though the heart were not its place. Baptism implied the Faith and was useless without its acceptance; to teach a new Christ after Baptism, or to alter the Faith then declared, was sin against the Holy Ghost. The chief cause of the continuance of the present blasphemy was the love of applause; men invented grandiloquent paraphrases in place of the Apostles' Creed, to delude the vulgar, to conceal their aberrations, to effect a compromise with other forms of error. They would do anything rather than confess that they had been wrong. When the storm arises (§ 7) the mariner returns to the harbour he had left; the spendthrift youth, with ruin in prospect, to the sober habits of his father's home. So Christians, with shipwreck of the Faith in sight and the heavenly patrimony almost lost, must return to the safety which lies in the primitive, Apostolic Baptismal Creed. They must not condemn as presumptuous or profane the Nicene confession, but eschew it as giving occasion to attacks upon the Faith and to denials of the truth on the ground of novelty. There is danger lest innovation creep in, excused as improvement of this creed; and emendation is an endless process, which leads the emenders to condemnation of each other. Hilary now (§8) professes his sincere admiration of Constantius' devout purpose and earnestness in seeking the truth, which he who denies is antichrist, and he who feigns is anathema. He entreats the Emperor to allow him to expound the Faith, in his own presence, before the Council which was now debating the subject at Constantinople. His exposition shall be Scriptural; he will use the words of Christ, Whose exile and Whose bishop he is. The Emperor seeks the Faith; let him hear it not from modern volumes, but from the books of God. Even in the West it may be taught, whence shall come some that shall sit at meat in the kingdom of God. This is a matter not of philosophy, but of the teaching of the Gospel. He asks audience rather for the Emperor's sake and for God's Churches than for himself. He is sure of the faith that is in him; it is God's, and he will never change it. But (§ 9) the Emperor must bear in mind that every heretic professes that his own is the Scriptural doctrine. So say Marcellus, Photinus, and the rest. He prays (§ 10) for the Emperor's best attention; his plea will be for faith and unity and eternal life. He will speak in all reverence for Constantius' royal position, and for his faith, and what he says shall tend to peace between East and West. Finally (§ 11) he gives, as an outline of the address he proposes to deliver, the series of texts on which he will base his argument. This is what the Holy Spirit has taught him to believe. To this faith he will ever adhere, loyal to the Faith of his fathers, and the creed of his Baptism, and the Gospel as he has learnt it.
In this address, to which we cannot wonder that Constantius made no response, there is much that is remarkable. There is no doubt that Hilary's exile had been a political measure, and that the Emperor, in this as in the numerous other cases of the same kind, had acted deliberately and with full knowledge of the circumstances in the way that seemed to him most conducive to the interests of permanent peace. Hilary's assumption that Constantius had been deceived is a legitimate allusion, which no one could misunderstand, to a fact which could not be respectfully stated. That he should have spoken as he did, and indeed that he should have raised the subject at all, is a clear sign of the uncertainty of the times. A timorous appeal for mercy would have been useless; a bold statement of innocence, although, as things turned out, it failed, was an effort worth making to check the Homoean advance. Saturninus, as we saw, was one of the Court party among the bishops, and he was an enemy of Julian, who was soon to permit his deposition. Julian's knowledge of Hilary can have been but small; his exile began within a month or two of the Cæsar's arrival in Gaul, and Julian was not responsible for it. For good or for evil, he had little to say in the case. But the suspicions were already aroused which were soon to lead to Julian's revolt, and Constantius had begun to give the orders which would lessen Julian's military force, and were, as he supposed, intended to prepare his downfall. To appeal to Julian and to attack Saturninus was to remind Constantius very broadly that great interests were at stake, and that a protector might be found for the creed which he persecuted. And his double mention of the West (§§ 8, 10) as able to teach the truth, and as needing to be reconciled with the East, has a political ring. It suggests that the Western provinces are a united force, with which the Emperor must reckon. The fact that Constantius, though he did not grant the meeting in his own presence with Saturninus, which Hilary had asked for, yet did grant the substance of his prayer, allowing him to return without obstacle to his diocese, seems to shew that the Emperor felt the need for caution and concession in the West.
The theological part of the letter is even more remarkable. Its doctrine is, of course, exactly that of the De Trinitate. The summary of Scripture proofs for the doctrine in § 11, the allusion to unlearned fishermen who have been teachers of the Faith  , and several other passages, are either anticipations or reminiscences of that work. But the interest of the letter lies in its bold proposal to go behind all the modern creeds, of the confusion of which a vivid picture is drawn, and revert to the baptismal formula. Here is a leading combatant on the Catholic side actually proposing to withdraw the Nicene confession:--`Amid these shipwrecks of faith, when our inheritance of the heavenly patrimony is almost squandered, our safety lies in clinging to that first and only Gospel Faith which we confessed and apprehended at our Baptism, and in making no change in that one form which, when we welcome it and listen to it, brings the right faith.  I do not mean that we should condemn as a godless and blasphemous writing the work of the Synod of our fathers; yet rash men make use of it as a means of gain saying' (§ 7). The Nicene Creed  , Hilary goes on to say, had been the starting-point of an endless chain of innovations and amendments, and thus had done harm instead of good. We have seen that Hilary was not only acting with the Semiarians, but was nearer to them in many ways than he was to Athanasius. The future of his friends was now in doubt; not only was their doctrine in danger, but, after the example they had themselves set, they must have been certain that defeat meant deposition. This was a concession which only a sense of extreme urgency could have induced Hilary to make. Yet even now he avoids the mistake of Liberius. He offers to sign no compromising creed; he only proposes that all modern creeds be consigned to the same oblivion. It was, in effect, the offer of another compromise in lieu of the Homoean; though Hilary makes it perfectly clear what is, in his eyes, the only sense in which this simple and primitive confession can honestly be made, yet assuredly those whose doctrine most widely diverged would have felt able to make it. That the proposal was sincerely meant, and that his words, uncompromising as they are in assertion of the truth, were not intended for a simple defiance of the enemy, is shewn by the list of heretics whom he advances, in § 9, in proof of his contention that all error claims to be based on Scripture. Three of them, Montanus, Manichæus and Marcion, were heretics in the eyes of an Arian as much as of a Catholic; the other three, Marcellus, Photinus and Sabellius, were those with whom the Arians were constantly taunting their adversaries. Hilary avoids, deliberately as we may be sure, the use of any name which could wound his opponents. But bold and eloquent and true as the appeal of Hilary was, it was still less likely that his petition for a hearing in Council should be granted than that he should be allowed to disprove the accusations which had led to his exile. The Homoean leaders had the victory in their hands, and they knew it, if Hilary and his friends were still in the dark. They did not want conciliation, but revenge, and this appeal was foredoomed to failure. The end of the crisis soon came. The Semiarian leaders were deposed, not on the charge of heresy, for that would have been inconsistent with the Homoean position and also with their acquiescence in the Homoean formula, but on some of those complaints concerning conduct which were always forthcoming when they were needed. Among the victims was not only Basil of Ancyra, Hilary's friend, but also Macedonius of Constantinople, who was in after days to be the chief of the party which denied the true Godhead of the Holy Ghost. He and his friends were probably unconscious at this time of the gulf which divided them from such men as Hilary, who for their part were content, in the interests of unity, with language which understated their belief, or else had not yet a clear sense of their faith upon this point. In any case it was well that the final victory of the true Faith was not won at this time, and with the aid of such allies; we may even regard it as a sign of some short-sightedness on Hilary's part that he had thrown himself so heartily into their cause. But he, at any rate, was not to suffer. The two Eastern parties, Homoean and Semiarian, which alternately ejected one another from their sees, were very evenly balanced, and though Constantius was now on the side of the former, his friendship was not to be trusted. The solid orthodoxy of the West was an influence which, as Hilary had hinted, could not be ignored; and even in the East the Nicenes were a power worth conciliating. Hence the Homoeans gave a share of the Semiarian spoils to them  ; and it was part of the same policy, and not, as has been quaintly suggested, because they were afraid of his arguments, that they permitted Hilary to return to Gaul. Reasons of state as well as of ecclesiastical interest favoured his restoration.
In the late revolution, though the Faith had suffered, individual Catholics had gained. But the party to which Hilary had attached himself, and from which he had hoped so much was crushed; and his personal advantage did not compensate, in his eyes, for the injury to truth. He has left us a memorial of his feelings in the Invective against Constantius, one of the bitterest documents of a controversy in which all who engaged were too earnest to spare their opponents. It is an admirable piece of rhetoric suffused with passion, not the less spontaneous because its form, according to the canons of taste of that time, is perfect. For we must remember that the education of the day was literary, its aim being to provide the recipient with a prompt and felicitous expression of his thoughts, whatever they might be. The invective was certainly written in the first place as a relief to Hilary's own feelings; he could not anticipate that Constantius had changed his views for the last time; that he would soon cease to be the master of Gaul, and would be dead within some eighteen months. But the existence of other attacks upon Constantius, composed about this time, makes it probable that there was some secret circulation of such documents; and we can as little accuse the writers of cowardice, when we consider the Emperor's far-reaching power, as we can attribute to them injustice towards him.
The book begins with an animated summons to resistance:--`The time for speech is come, the time of silence past. Let us look for Christ's coming, for Antichrist is already in power. Let the shepherds cry aloud, for the hirelings are fled. Let us lay down our lives for the sheep, for the thieves have entered in and the ravening lion prowls around. With such words on our lips let us go forth to martyrdom, for the angel of Satan has transfigured himself into an angel of light.' After more Scriptural language of the same kind, Hilary goes on to say (§ 2) that, though he had been fully conscious of the extent of the danger to the Faith, he had been strictly moderate in his conduct. After the exiling of orthodox bishops at Arles and Milan, he and the bishops of Gaul had contented themselves with abstaining from communion with Saturninus, Ursacius and Valens. Other heretical bishops had been allowed a time for repentance. And even after he had been forced to attend the Synod of Béziers, refused a hearing for the charges of heresy which he wished to bring, and finally exiled, he had never, in word or writing, uttered any denunciation against his opponents, the Synagogue of Satan, who falsely claimed to be the Church of Christ. He had not faltered in his own belief, but had welcomed every suggestion that held out a hope of unity; and in that hope he had even refrained from blaming those who associated or worshipped with the excommunicate. Setting all personal considerations on one side, he had laboured for a restoration of the Church through a general repentance. His reserve and consistency (§ 3) is evidence that what he is about to say is not due to personal irritation. He speaks in the name of Christ, and his prolonged silence makes it his duty to speak plainly. It had been happy for him had he lived in the days of Nero or Decius (§ 4). The Holy Spirit would have fired him to endure as did the martyrs of Scripture; torments and death would have been welcome. It would have been a fair fight with an open enemy. But now (§ 5) Constantius was Antichrist, and waged his warfare by deceit and flattery. It was scourging then, pampering now; no longer freedom in prison, but slavery at court, and gold as deadly as the sword had been; martyrs no longer burnt at the stake, but a secret lighting of the fires of hell. All that seems good in Constantius, his confession of Christ, his efforts for unity, his severity to heretics, his reverence for bishops, his building of churches, is perverted to evil ends. He professes loyalty to Christ, but his constant aim is to prevent Christ from being honoured equally with the Father. Hence (§ 6) it is a clear duty to speak out, as the Baptist to Herod and the Maccabees to Antiochus. Constantius is addressed (§ 7) in the words in which Hilary would have addressed Nero or Decius or Maximian had he been arraigned before them, as the enemy of God and His Church, a persecutor and a tyrant. But he has a peculiar infamy, worse than theirs, for it is as a pretended Christian that he opposes Christ, imprisons bishops, overawes the Church by military force, threatens and starves one council (at Rimini) into submission, and frustrates the purpose of another (Seleucia) by sowing dissension. To the pagan Emperors the Church owed a great debt (§ 8); the Martyrs with whom they had enriched her were still working daily wonders, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, suspending the law of gravitation  . But Constantius' guilt has no mitigation. A nominal Christian, he has brought unmixed evil upon the Church. The victims of his perversion cannot even plead bodily suffering as an excuse for their lapse. The devil is his father, from whom he has learnt his skill in misleading. He says to Christ, Lord, Lord, but shall not enter the kingdom of heaven (§ 9), for he denies the Son, and therefore the fatherhood of God. The old persecutors were enemies of Christ only; Constantius insults the Father also, by making Him lie. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing (§ 10). He loads the Church with the gold of the state and the spoil of pagan temples; it is the kiss with which Judas betrayed his Master. The clergy receive immunities and remissions of taxation: it is to tempt them to deny Christ. He will only relate such acts of Constantius' tyranny as affect the Church (§ 11). He will not press, for he does not know the offence alleged, his conduct in branding bishops on the forehead, as convicts, and setting them to labour in the mines. But he recounts his long course of oppression and faction at Alexandria; a warfare longer than that which he had waged against Persia  . Elsewhere, in the East, he had spread terror and strife, always to prevent Christ being preached. Then he had turned to the West. The excellent Paulinus had been driven from Treves, and cruelly treated, banished from all Christian society  , and forced to consort with Montanist heretics. Again, at Milan, the soldiers had brutally forced their way through the orthodox crowds and torn bishops from the altar; a crime like that of the Jews who slew Zacharias in the Temple. He had robbed Rome also of her bishop, whose restoration was as disgraceful to the Emperor as his banishment. At Toulouse the clergy had been shamefully maltreated, and gross irreverence committed in the Church. These are the deeds of Antichrist. Hitherto, Hilary has spoken of matters of public notoriety, though not of his own observation. Now (§ 12) he comes to the Synod of Seleucia, at which he had been present. He found there as many blasphemers as Constantius chose. Only the Egyptians, with the exception of George, the intruder into the See of Athanasius, were avowedly Homoousian. Yet of the one hundred and five bishops who professed the Homoeousian Creed, he found `some piety in the words of some.' But the Anomoeans were rank blasphemers; he gives, in § 13, words from a sermon by their leader, Eudoxius of Antioch, which were quoted by the opposition, and received with the abhorrence they deserved. This party found (§ 14) that no toleration was to be expected for such doctrines, and so forged the Homoean creed, which condemned equally the homoousion, the homoiousion and the anomoion. Their insincerity in thus rejecting their own belief was manifest to the Council, and one of them, who canvassed Hilary's support, avowed blank Arianism in the conversation. The large Homoeousian majority (§ 15) deposed the authors of the Homoean confession, who flew for aid to Constantius, who received them with honour and allowed them to air their heresy. The tables were turned; the minority, aided by the Emperor's threats of exile, drove the majority, in the persons of their ten delegates, to conform to the new creed. The people were coerced by the prefect, the bishops threatened within the palace walls; the chief cities of the East were provided with heretical Bishops. It was nothing less than making a present to the devil of the whole world for which Christ died. Constantius professed (§ 16) that his aim was to abolish unscriptural words. But what right had he to give orders to bishops or dictate the language of their sermons? A new disease needed new remedies; warfare was inevitable when fresh enemies arose. And, after all, the Homoean formula, `like the Father,' was itself unscriptural. Scripture is adduced (§ 17) by Hilary to prove that the Son is not merely like, but equal to, the Father; and (§ 18) one in nature with Him, having (§ 19) the form and the glory of God. This `likeness' is a trap (§ 20); chaff strewn on water, straw covering a pit, a hook hidden in the bait. The Catholic sense is the only true sense in which the word can be used, as is shewn more fully, by arguments to be found in the De Trinitate, in §§ 21, 22. And now he asks Constantius (§ 23) the plain question, what his creed is. He has made a hasty progress, by a steep descent, to the nethermost pit of blasphemy. He began with the Faith, which deserved the name, of Nicæa; he changed it at Antioch. But he was a clumsy builder; the structure he raised was always falling, and had to be constantly renewed; creed after creed had been framed, the safeguards and anathemas of which would have been needless had he remained steadfast to the Nicene. Hilary does not lament the creeds which Constantius had abandoned (§ 24); they might be harmless in themselves, but they represented no real belief. Yet why should he reject his own creeds? There was no such reason for his discontent with them as there had been, in his heresy, for his rejection of the Nicene. This ceaseless variety arose from want of faith; `one Faith, one Baptism,' is the mark of truth. The result had been to stultify the bishops. They had been driven to condemn in succession the accurate homoousion and the harmless homoiousion, and even the word ousia, or substance. These were the pranks of a mere buffoon, amusing himself at the expense of the Church, and compelling the bishops, like dogs returning to their vomit, to accept what they had rejected. So many had been the contradictory creeds that every one was now, or had been in the past, a heretic confessed. And this result had only been attained (§ 26) by violence, as for instance in the cases of the Eastern and African bishops. The latter had committed to writing their sentence upon Ursacius and Valens; the Emperor had seized the document. It might go to the flames, as would Constantius himself, but the sentence was registered with God. Other men (§ 27) had waged war with the living, but Constantius extended his hostility to the dead; he contradicted the teaching of the saints, and his bishops rejected their predecessors, to whom they owed their orders, by denying their doctrine. The three hundred and eighteen at Nicæa were anathema to him, and his own father who had presided there. Yet though he might scorn the past, he could not control the future. The truth defined at Nicæa had been solemnly committed to writing and remained, however Constantius might condemn it. `Give ear,' Hilary concludes, `to the holy meaning of the words, to the unalterable determination of the Church, to the faith which thy father avowed, to the sure hope in which man must put his trust, the universal conviction of the doom of heresy; and learn therefrom that thou art the foe of God's religion, the enemy of the tombs of the saints  , the rebellious inheritor of thy father's piety.'
Here, again, there is much of interest. Hilary's painful feeling of isolation is manifest. He had withdrawn from communion with Saturninus and the few Arians of Gaul, but has to confess that his own friends were not equally uncompromising. The Gallic bishops, with their enormous dioceses, had probably few occasions for meeting, and prudent men could easily avoid a conflict which the Arians, a feeble minority, would certainly not provoke. The bishops had been courteous, or more than courteous; and Hilary dared not protest. His whole importance as a negotiator in the East depended on the belief that he was the representative of a harmonious body of opinion. To advertise this departure from his policy of warfare would have been fatal to his influence. And if weakness, as he must have judged it, was leading his brethren at home into a recognition of Arians, Constantius and his Homoean counsellors had ingeniously contrived a still more serious break in the orthodox line of battle. There was reason in his bitter complaint of the Emperor's generosity. He was lavish with his money, and it was well worth a bishop's while to be his friend. And of this expenditure Nicenes were enjoying their share, and that without having to surrender their personal belief, for all that was required was that they should not be inquisitive as to their neighbours' heresies. But Nicene bishops, of an accommodating character, were not only holding their own; they were enjoying a share of the spoils of the routed Semiarians. It was almost a stroke of genius thus to shatter Hilary's alliance; for it was certainly not by chance that among the sees to which Nicenes, in full and formal communion with him, were preferred, was Ancyra itself, from which his chosen friend Basil had been ejected. Disgusted though Hilary must have been with such subservience, and saddened by the downfall of his friends, it is clear that the Emperor's policy had some success, even with him. His former hopes being dashed to the ground, he now turns, with an interest he had never before shewn, to the Nicene Creed as a bulwark of the Faith. And we can see the same feeling at work in his very cold recognition that there was `some piety in the words of some' among his friends at Seleucia. It would be unjust to think of Hilary as a timeserver, but we must admit that there is something almost too businesslike in this dismission from his mind of former hopes and friendships. He looked always to a practical result in the establishment of truth, and a judgment so sound as his could not fail to see that the Asiatic negotiations were a closed chapter in his life. And his mind must have been full of the thought that he was returning to the West, which had its own interests and its own prejudices, and was impartially suspicious of all Eastern theologians; whose `selfish coldness  ' towards the East was, indeed, ten years later still a barrier against unity. If Hilary was to be, as he purposed, a power in the West, he must promptly resume the Western tone; and he will have succumbed to very natural infirmity if, in his disappointment, he was disposed to couple together his allies who had failed with the Emperor who had caused their failure.
The historical statements of the Invective, as has been said, cannot always be verified. The account of the Synod of Seleucia is, however, unjust to Constantius. It was the free expression of the belief of Asia, and if heretics were present by command of the Emperor, an overwhelming majority, more or less orthodox, were present by the same command. But the character and policy of Constantius are delineated fairly enough. The results, disastrous both to conscience and to peace, are not too darkly drawn, and no sarcasm could be too severe for the absurd as well as degrading position to which he had reduced the Church. But the invective is interesting not only for its contents but as an illustration of its writer's character. Strong language meant less in Latin than in English, but the passionate earnestness of these pages cannot be doubted. They are not more violent than the attacks of Athanasius upon Constantius, nor less violent than those of Lucifer; if the last author is usually regarded as pre-eminent in abuse, he deserves his reputation not because of the vigour of his denunciation, but because his pages contain nothing but railing. The change is sudden, no doubt, from respect for Constantius and hopefulness as to his conduct, but the provocation, we must remember, had been extreme. If the faith of the Fathers was intense and, in the best sense, childlike, there is something childlike also in their gusts of passion, their uncontrolled emotion in victory or defeat, the personal element which is constantly present in their controversies. Though, henceforth, ecclesiastical policy was to be but a secondary interest with Hilary, and diplomacy was to give place to a more successful attempt to influence thought, yet we can see in another sphere the same spirit of conflict; for it is evident that his labours against heresy, beside the more serious satisfaction of knowing that he was on the side of truth, are lightened by the logician's pleasure in exposing fallacy.
The deposition of the Semiarian leaders took place very early in the year 360, and Hilary's dismissal homewards, one of the same series of measures, must soon have followed. If he had formed the plan of his invective before he left Constantinople, it is not probable that he wrote it there. It was more probably the employment of his long homeward journey. His natural route would be by the great Egnatian Way, which led through Thessalonica to Durazzo, thence by sea to Brindisi, and so to Rome and the North. It is true that the historians, or rather Rufinus, from whom the rest appear to have borrowed all their knowledge, say that Illyricum was one sphere of his labours for the restoration of the Faith. But a journey by land through Illyricum, the country of Valens and Ursacius and thoroughly indoctrinated with Arianism, would not only have been dangerous but useless. For Hilary's purpose was to confirm the faithful among the bishops and to win back to orthodoxy those who had been terrorised or deceived into error, and thus to cement a new confederacy against the Homoeans; not to make a vain assault upon what was, for the present, an impregnable position. And though the Western portion of the Via Egnatia did not pass through the existing political division called Illyricum, it did lie within the region called in history and literature by that name. Again, the evidence that Hilary passed through Rome is not convincing; but since it was his best road, and he would find there the most important person among those who had wavered in their allegiance to truth, we may safely accept it. He made it his business, we are told  , to exhort the Churches through which he passed to abjure heresy and return to the true faith. But we know nothing of the places through which he passed before reaching Rome, the see of Liberius, with whom it was most desirable for him to be on friendly terms. Liberius was not so black as he has sometimes been painted, but he was not a heroic figure. His position was exactly that of many other bishops in the Western lands. They had not denied their own faith, but at one time or another, in most cases at Rimini, they had admitted that there was room in the same communion for Arian bishops and for themselves. In the case of Liberius the circumstances are involved in some obscurity, but it is clear that he had, in order to obtain remission of his exile, taken a position which was practically that of the old Council of the Dedication  . Hilary, we remember, had called that Council a `Synod of the Saints,' when speaking of it from the Eastern point of view. But he had never stooped to such a minimising of the Faith as its words, construed at the best, involved. Easterns, in their peculiar difficulties, he was hopeful enough to believe, had framed its terms in a legitimate sense; he could accept it from them, but could not use it as the expression of his own belief. So to do would have been a retrograde step; and this step Liberius had taken, to the scandal of the Church. Yet he, and all whose position in any way resembled his--all, indeed, except some few incorrigible ringleaders--were in the Church; their deflection was, in Hilary's words, an `inward evil.' And Hilary was no Lucifer; his desire was to unite all who could be united in defence of the truth. This was the plan dictated by policy as well as by charity, and in the case of Liberius, if, as is probable, they met, it was certainly rewarded with success. Indeed, according to Rufinus, Hilary was successful at every stage of his journey. Somewhere on his course he fell in with Eusebius of Vercelli, who had been exiled at the Council of Milan, had passed his time in the region to the East of that in which Hilary had been interned, and was now profiting by the same Homoean amnesty to return to his diocese. He also had been using the opportunities of travel for the promotion of the Faith. He had come from Antioch, and therefore had probably landed at or near Naples. He was now travelling northwards, exhorting as he went. His encounter with Hilary stimulated him to still greater efforts; but Rufinus tells us  that he was the less successful of the two, for Hilary, `a man by nature mild and winning, and also learned and singularly apt at persuasion, applied himself to the task with a greater diligence and skill.' They do not appear to have travelled in company; the cities to be visited were too numerous and their own time, eager as they must have been to reach their homes, too short. But their journey seems to have been a triumphal progress; the bishops were induced to renounce their compromise with error, and the people inflamed against heresy, so that, in the words of Rufinus  , `these two men, glorious luminaries as it were of the universe, flooded Illyricum and Italy and the Gallic provinces with their splendour, so that even from hidden nooks and corners all darkness of heresy was banished.'
In the passage just quoted Rufinus directly connects the publication of Hilary's masterpiece, usually called the De Trinitate, with this work of reconciliation. After speaking of his success in it, he proceeds, `Moreover he published his books Concerning the Faith, composed in a lofty style, wherein he displayed the guile of the heretics and the deceptions practiced upon our friends, together with the credulous and misplaced sincerity of the latter, with such skill that his ample instructions amended the errors not only of those whom he encountered, but also of those whom distance hindered him from meeting face to face.' Some of the twelve books of which the work is composed had certainly been published during his exile, and it is possible that certain portions may date from his later residence in Gaul. But a study of the work itself leads to the conclusion that Rufinus was right in the main in placing it at this stage of Hilary's life; this was certainly the earliest date at which it can have been widely influential.
The title which Hilary gave to his work as a whole was certainly De Fide, Concerning the Faith, the name by which, as we saw, Rufinus describes it. It is probable that its controversial purpose was indicated by the addition of contra Arianos; but it is certain that its present title, De Trinitate, was not given to it by Hilary. The word Trinitas is of extraordinarily rare occurrence in his writings; the only instances seem to be in Trin. i. 22, 36, where he is giving a very condensed summary of the contents of his work. In the actual course of his argument the word is scrupulously avoided, as it is in all his other writings. In this respect he resembles Athanasius, who will usually name the Three Persons rather than employ this convenient and even then familiar term. There may have been some undesirable connotation in it which he desired to avoid, though this is hardly probable; it is more likely that both Athanasius and Hilary, conscious that the use of technical terms of theology was in their times a playing with edged tools, deliberately avoided a word which was unnecessary, though it might be useful. And in Hilary's case there is the additional reason that to his mind the antithesis of truth and falsehood was One God or Two Gods  ; that to him, more than to any other Western theologian, the developed and clearly expressed thought of Three coequal Persons was strange. Since, then, the word and the thought were rarely present in his mind, we cannot accept as the title of his work what is, after all, only a mediæval description.
The composite character of the treatise, which must still for convenience be called the De Trinitate, is manifest. The beginnings of several of its books, which contain far more preliminary, and often rhetorical, matter than is necessary to link them on to their predecessors, point to a separate publication of each; a course which was, indeed, necessary under the literary conditions of the time. This piecemeal publication is further proved by the elaborate summaries of the contents of previous books which are given as, e.g., at the beginning of Trin. x.; and by the frequent repetition of earlier arguments at a later stage, which shews that the writer could not trust to the reader's possession of the whole. Though no such attention has been devoted to the growth of this work as Noeldechen has paid to that of the treatises of Tertullian, yet some account of the process can be given. For although Hilary himself, in arranging the complete treatise, has done much to make it run smoothly and consecutively, and though the scribes who have copied it have probably made it appear still more homogeneous, yet some clues to its construction are left. The first is his description of the first book as the second (v. 3). This implies that the fourth is the first; and when we examine the fourth we find that, if we leave out of consideration a little preliminary matter, it is the beginning of a refutation of Arianism. It states the Arian case, explains the necessity of the term homoousios, gives a list of the texts on which the Arians relied, and sets out at length one of their statements of doctrine, the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, which it proceeds to demolish, in the remainder of the fourth book and in the fifth, by arguments from particular passages and from the general sense of the Old Testament. In the sixth book, for the reason already given, the Arian Creed is repeated, after a vivid account of the evils of the time, and the refutation continued by arguments from the New Testament. In § 2 of this book there is further evidence of the composite character of the treatise. Hilary says that though in the first book he has already set out the Arian manifesto, yet he thinks good, as he is still dealing with it, to repeat it in this sixth. Hilary seems to have overlooked the discrepancy, which some officious scribe has half corrected  . The seventh book, he says at the beginning, is the climax of the whole work. If we take the De Trinitate as a whole, this is a meaningless flourish; but if we look on to the eighth book, and find an elaborate introduction followed by a line of argument different from that of the four preceding books, we must be inclined to think that the seventh is the climax and termination of what has been an independent work, consisting of four books. And if we turn to the end of the seventh, and note that it alone of all the twelve has nothing that can be called a peroration, but ends in an absolutely bald and businesslike manner, we are almost forced to conclude that this is because the peroration which it once had, as the climax of the work, was unsuitable for its new position and has been wholly removed. Had Hilary written this book as one of the series of twelve, he would certainly, according to all rules of literary propriety, have given it a formal termination. In these four books then, the fourth to the seventh, we may see the nucleus of the De Trinitate; not necessarily the part first written, for he says (iv. 1)  that some parts, at any rate, of the three first books are of earlier date, but that around which the whole has been arranged. It has a complete unity of its own, following step by step the Arian Creed, of which we shall presently speak. It is purely controversial, and quite possibly the title Contra Arianos, for which there is some evidence, really belongs to this smaller work, though it clung, not unnaturally, to the whole for which Hilary devised the more appropriate De Fide. Concerning the date of these four books, we can only say that they must have been composed during his exile. For though he does not mention his exile, yet he is already a bishop (vi. 2), and knows about the homoousion (iv. 4). We have seen already that his acquaintance with the Nicene Creed began only just before his exile; he must, therefore, have written them during his enforced leisure in Asia.
In the beginning of the fourth book Hilary refers back to the proof furnished in the previous books, written some time ago, of the Scriptural character of his faith and of the unscriptural nature of all the heresies. Setting aside the first book, which does not correspond to this description, we find what he describes in the second and third. These form a short connected treatise, complete in itself. It is much more academic than that of which we have already spoken; it deals briefly with all the current heresies (ii. 4 ff.), but shews no sign that one of them, more than the others, was an urgent danger. There is none of the passion of conflict; Hilary is in the mood for rhetoric, and makes the most of his opportunities. He expatiates, for instance, on the greatness of his theme (ii. 5), harps almost to excess upon the fisherman to whom mysteries so great were revealed (ii. 13 ff.), dilates, after the manner of a sermon, upon the condescension and the glory manifested in the Incarnation, describes miracles with much liveliness of detail (iii. 5, 20), and ends the treatise (iii. 24-26) with a nobly eloquent statement of the paradox of wisdom which is folly and folly which is wisdom, and of faith as the only means of knowing God. The little work, though it deals professedly with certain heresies, is in the main constructive. It contains far more of positive assertion of the truth, without reference to opponents, than it does of criticism of their views. In sustained calmness of tone--it recognises the existence of honest doubt (iii. 1),--and in literary workmanship, it excels any other part of the De Trinitate and in the latter respect is certainly superior to the more conversational Homilies on the Psalms. But it suffers, in comparison with the books which follow, by a certain want of intensity; the reader feels that it was written, in one sense, for the sake of writing it, and written, in another sense, for purposes of general utility. It is not, as later portions of the work were, forged as a weapon for use in a conflict of life and death. Yet, standing as it does, at the beginning of the whole great treatise, it serves admirably as an introduction. It is clear, convincing and interesting, and its eloquent peroration carries the reader on to the central portion of the work, which begins with the fourth book. Except that the second book has lost its exordium, for the same reason that the seventh has lost its conclusion, the two books are complete as well as homogeneous. Of the date nothing definite can be said. There is no sign of any special interest in Arianism; and Hilary's leisure for a paper conflict with a dead foe like Ebionism suggests that he was writing before the strife had reached Gaul. The general tone of the two books is quite consistent with this; and we may regard it as more probable than not that they were composed before the exile; whether they were published at the time as a separate treatise, or laid on one side for a while, cannot be known; the former supposition is the more reasonable.
The remaining books, from the eighth to the twelfth, appear to have been written continuously, with a view to their forming part of the present connected whole. They were, no doubt, published separately, and they, with books iv. to vii., may well be the letters (stripped, of course, in their permanent shape of their epistolary accessories) which, Hilary feared, were obtaining no recognition from his friends in Gaul. The last five have certain references back to arguments in previous books  , while these do not refer forward, nor do the groups ii. iii. and iv.-vii. refer to one another. But books viii.-xii. have also internal references, and promise that a subject shall be fully treated in due course  . We may therefore assume that, when he began to write book viii., Hilary had already determined to make use of his previous minor works, and that he now proceeded to complete his task with constant reference to these. Evidences of exact date are here again lacking; he writes as a bishop and as an exile  , and under a most pressing necessity. The preface to book viii., with its description of the dangers of the time and of Hilary's sense of the duty of a bishop, seems to represent the state of mind in which he resolved to construct the present De Trinitate. It is too emphatic for a mere transition from one step in a continuous discussion to another. Regarding these last five books, then, as written continuously, with one purpose and with one theological outlook, we may fix an approximate date for them by two considerations. They shew, in books ix. and x., that he was thoroughly conscious of the increasing peril of Apollinarianism. They shew also, by their silence, that he had determined to ignore what was one of the most obvious and certainly the most offensive of the current modes of thought. There is no refutation, except implicitly, and no mention of Anomoeanism, that extreme Arianism which pronounced the Son unlike the Father  . This can be explained only in one way. We have seen that Hilary thinks Arianism worth attack because it is an 'inward evil;' that he does not, except in early and leisurely work such as book ii., pay any attention to heresies which were obviously outside the Church and had an organization of their own. We have seen also that the Homoeans cast out their more holiest Anomoean brethren in 359. The latter made no attempt to retrieve their position within the church; they proceeded to establish a Church of their own, which was, so they protested, the true one. It was under Jovian (a.d. 362-363) that they consecrated their own bishop for Constantinople  ; but the separation must have been visible for some time before that decisive step was taken. Thus, when the De Trinitate took its present form, Apollinarianism was risen above the Church's horizon and Anomoeanism was sunk below it. We cannot, therefore, put the completion of the work earlier shall the remission of Hilary's exile; we cannot, indeed, suppose that he had leisure to make it perfect except in his home. Yet the work must have been for the most part finished before its writer reached Italy on his return; and the issue or reissue of its several portions was a natural, and certainly a powerful, measure towards the end which he had at heart.
There remains the first book, which was obviously, as Erasmus saw, the last to be composed. It is a survey of the accomplished task, beginning with that account of Hilary's spiritual birth and growth which has already been mentioned. This is a piece of writing which it is no undue praise to rank, for dignity and felicity of language, among the noblest examples of Roman eloquence. Hooker, among English authors, is the one whom it most suggests. Then there follows a brief summary of the argument of the successive books, and a prayer for the success of the work. This reads, and perhaps it was meant to read, as though it were a prayer that he might worthily execute a plan which as yet existed only in his brain; but it may also be interpreted, in the more natural sense, as a petition that his hope might not be frustrated, and that his book might appear to others what he trusted, in his own mind, that it was, true to Scripture, sound in logic, and written with that lofty gravity which befitted the greatness of his theme.
After speaking of the construction of the work, as Hilary framed it, something must be said of certain interpolations which it has suffered. The most important are those at the end of book ix. and in x. 8, which flatly contradict his teaching  . They are obvious intrusions, imperfectly attested by manuscript authority, and condemned by their own character. Hilary was not the writer to stultify himself and confuse his readers by so clumsy a device as that of appending a bald denial of its truth to a long and careful exposition of his characteristic doctrine. Another passage, where the scholarship seems to indicate the work of an inferior hand, is Trin. x. 40, in which there is a singular misunderstanding of the Greek Testament  . The writer must have known Greek, for no manuscript of the Latin Bible would have suggested his mistake, and therefore he must have written in early days. It is even possible that Hilary himself was, for once, at fault in his scholarship. Yet, at the most, the interpolations are few and, where they seriously affect the sense, are easily detected  . Not many authors of antiquity have escaped so lightly in this respect as Hilary.
Hilary certainly intended his work to be regarded as a whole; as a treatise Concerning the Faith, for it had grown into something more than a refutation of Arianism. He has carefully avoided, so far as the circumstances of the time and the composite character of the treatise would allow him, any allusion to names and events of temporary interest; there is, in fact, nothing more definite than a repetition of the wish expressed in the Second Epistle to Constantius, that it were possible to recur to the Baptismal formula as the authoritative statement of the Faith  . It is not, like the De Synodis; written with a diplomatic purpose; it is, though cast inevitably in a controversial form, a statement of permanent truths. This has involved the sacrifice of much that would have been of immediate service, and deprived the book of a great part of its value as a weapon in the conflicts of the day. But we can see, by the selection he made of a document to controvert, that Hilary's choice was deliberate. It was no recent creed, no confession to which any existing body of partisans was pledged. He chose for refutation the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, written almost forty years ago and destitute, it must have seemed, of any but an historical interest. And it was no extreme statement of the Arian position. This Epistle was `far more temperate and cautious  ' than its alternative, Arius' letter to Eusebius. The same wide outlook as is manifest in this indifference to the interests of the moment is seen also in Hilary's silence in regard to the names of friends and foes. Marcellus, Apollinaris, Eudoxius, Acacius are a few of those whom it must have seemed that he would do well to renounce as imagined friends who brought his cause discredit, or bitter enemies to truth and its advocates. But here also he refrains; no names are mentioned except those of men whose heresies were already the commonplaces of controversy. And there is also an absolute silence concerning the feuds and alliances of the day. No notice is taken of the loyalty of living confessors or the approximation to truth of well-meaning waverers. The book contains no sign that it has any but a general object; it is, as far as possible, an impersonal refutation of error and statement of truth.
This was the deliberate purpose of Hilary, and he had certainly counted its cost in immediate popularity and success. For though, as we have seen, the work did produce, as it deserved, a considerable effect at the time of its publication, it has remained ever since, in spite of all its merits, in a certain obscurity. There can be no doubt that this is largely due to the Mezentian union with such a document as Arius' Epistle to Alexander of the decisively important section of the De Trinitate. The books in which that Epistle is controverted were those of vital interest for the age; and the method which Hilary's plan constrained him to adopt was such as to invite younger theologians to compete with him. Future generations could not be satisfied with his presentation of the case. And again, his plan of refuting the Arian document point by point  , contrasting as it does with the free course of his thought in the earlier and later books, tends to repel the reader. The fourth book proves from certain texts that the Son is God; the fifth from the same texts that He is true God. Hence this part of the treatise is pervaded by a certain monotony; a cumulative impression is produced by our being led forward again and again along successive lines of argument to the same point, beyond which we make no progress till the last proof is stated. The work is admirably and convincingly done, but we are glad to hear the last of the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, and accompany Hilary in a less embarrassed enquiry.
Yet the whole work has defects of its own. It is burdened with much repetition; subjects, especially, which have been treated in books ii. and iii. are discussed again at great length in later books  . The frequent stress laid upon the infinity of God, the limitations of human speech and knowledge, the consequent incompleteness of the argument from analogy, the humility necessary when dealing with infinities apparently opposed  , though it adds to the solemnity of the writer's tone and was doubtless necessary when the work was published in parts, becomes somewhat tedious in the course of a continuous reading. And something must here be said of the peculiarities of style. We saw that in places, as for instance in the beginning of the De Trinitate, Hilary can rise to a singularly lofty eloquence. This eloquence is not merely the unstudied utterance of an earnest faith, but the expression given to it by one whom natural talent and careful training had made a master of literary form. Yet, since his training was that of an age whose standard of taste was far from classical purity, much that must have seemed to him and to his contemporaries to be admirably effective can excite no admiration now. He prays, at the end of the first book, that his diction may be worthy of his theme, and doubtless his effort was as sincere as his prayer. Had there been less effort, there would certainly, in the judgment of a modern reader, have been more success. But he could not foresee the future, and ingenious affectations such as occur at the end of book viii. § 1, impietati insolenti, et insolentiæ vaniloquæ, et vaniloquio seducenti, with the jingle of rhymes which follows, are too frequent for our taste in his pages  . Sometimes we find purple patches which remind us of the rhetoric of Apuleius  ; sometimes an excessive display of symmetry and antithesis, which suggests to us St. Cyprian at his worst. Yet Cyprian had the excuse that all his writings are short occasional papers written for immediate effect; neither he, nor any Latin Christian before Hilary, had ventured to construct a great treatise of theology, intended to influence future ages as well as the present. Another excessive development of rhetoric is the abuse of apostrophe, which Hilary sometimes rides almost to death, as in his addresses to the Fisherman, St. John, in the second book  . These blemishes, however, do not seriously affect his intelligibility. He has earned, in this as in greater matters, an unhappy reputation for obscurity, which he has, to a certain extent, deserved. His other writings, even the Commentary on St. Matthew, are free from the involved language which sometimes makes the De Trinitate hard to understand, and often hard to read with pleasure. When Hilary was appealing to the Emperor, or addressing his own flock, as in the Homilies on the Psalms, he has command of a style which is always clear, stately on occasion, never weak or bald; in these cases he resisted, or did not feel, the temptation to use the resources of his rhetoric. These, unfortunately, had for their result the production of sentences which are often marvels of grammatical contortion and elliptical ingenuity. Yet such sentences, though numerous, are of few and uniform types. In Hilary's case, as in that of Tertullian, familiarity makes the reader so accustomed to them that he instinctively expects their recurrence; and, at their worst, they are never actual breaches of the laws of the language. A translator can hardly be an impartial judge in this matter, for constantly, in passages where the sense is perfectly clear, the ingenuity with which words and constructions are arranged makes it almost impossible to render their meaning in idiomatic terms. One can translate him out of Latin, but not into English. In this he resembles one of the many styles of St. Augustine. There are passages in the De Trinitate, for instance viii. 27, 28, which it would seem that Augustine had deliberately imitated; a course natural enough in the case of one who was deeply indebted to his predecessor's thought, and must have looked with reverence upon the great pioneer of systematic theology in the Latin tongue. But this involution of style, irritating as it sometimes is, has the compensating advantage that it keeps the reader constantly on the alert. He cannot skim these pages in the comfortable delusion that he is following the course of thought without an effort.
The same attention which Hilary demands from his readers has obviously been bestowed upon the work by himself. It is the selected and compressed result not only of his general study of theology, but of his familiarity with the literature and the many phases of the great Arian controversy  . And he makes it clear that he is engaged in no mere conflict of wit; his passionate loyalty to the person of Christ is the obvious motive of his writing. He has taken his side with full conviction, and he is equally convinced that his opponents have irrevocably taken theirs. There is little or no reference to the existence or even the possibility of doubt, no charitable construction for ambiguous creeds, hardly a word of pleading with those in error  . There is no excuse for heresy; it is mere insanity, when it is not wilful self-destruction or deliberate blasphemy. The battle is one without quarter; and sometimes, we must suspect, Hilary has been misled in argument by the uncompromising character of the conflict. Every reason advanced for a pernicious belief, he seems to think, must itself be bad, and be met with a direct negative. And again, in the heat of warfare he is led to press his arguments too far. Not only is the best and fullest use of Scripture made--for Hilary, like Athanasius, is marvellously imbued with its spirit as well as familiar with its letter--but texts are pressed into his service, and interpreted sometimes with brilliant ingenuity  , which cannot bear the meaning assigned them. Yet much of this exegesis must be laid to the charge of his time, not of himself; and in the De Trinitate, as contrasted with the Homilies on the Psalms; he is wisely sparing in the use of allegorical interpretations. He remembers that he is refuting enemies, not conversing with friends. And his belief in their conscious insincerity leads to a certain hardness of tone. They will escape his conclusions if they possibly can; he must pin them down. Hence texts are sometimes treated, and deductions drawn from them, as though they were postulates of geometry; and, however we may admire the machine-like precision and completeness of the proof, we feel that we are reading Euclid rather than literature  . But this also is due to that system of exegesis, fatal to any recognition of the eloquence and poetry of Scripture, of which something will be said in the next chapter.
These, after all, are but petty flaws in so great a work. Not only as a thinker, but as a pioneer of thought, whose treasures have enriched, often unrecognised, the pages of Ambrose and Augustine and all later theologians, he deserves our reverence. Not without reason was he ranked, within a generation of his death, with Cyprian and Ambrose, as one of the three chief glories of Western Christendom  . Jerome and Augustine mention him frequently and with honour. This is not the place to summarise or discuss the contents of his works; but the reader cannot fail to recognise their great and varied value, the completeness of his refutation of current heresies, the convincing character of his presentation of the truth, and the originality, restrained always by scrupulous reverence as well as by intellectual caution, of his additions to the speculative development of the Faith. We recognise also the tenacity with which, encumbered as he was with the double task of simultaneously refuting Arianism and working out his own thoughts, he has adhered to the main issues. He never wanders into details, but keeps steadfastly to his course. He refrains, for instance, from all consideration of the results which Arianism might produce upon the superstructure of the Faith and upon the conduct of Christians; they are undermining the foundations, and he never forgets that it is these which he has undertaken to strengthen and defend. Our confidence in him as a guide is increased by the eminently businesslike use which he makes of his higher qualities. This is obvious in the smallest details, as, for instance, in his judicious abstinence, which will be considered in the next chapter, from the use of technical terms of theology, when their employment would have made his task easier, and might even, to superficial minds, have enhanced his reputation. We see it also in the talent which he shews in the device of watchwords, which serve both to enliven his pages and to guide the reader through their argument. Such is the frequent antithesis of the orthodox unitas with the heretical unio, the latter a harmless word in itself and used by Tertullian indifferently with the former, but seized by the quick intelligence of Hilary to serve this special end  ; such also, the frequent `Not two Gods but One  ,' and the more obvious contrast between the Catholic unum and the Arian unus. Thus, in excellence of literary workmanship, in sustained cogency and steady progress of argument, in the full use made of rare gifts of intellect and heart, we must recognise that Hilary has brought his great undertaking to a successful issue; that the voyage beset with many perils, to use his favourite illustration, has safely ended in the haven of Truth and Faith.
Whether the De Trinitate were complete or not at the time of his return to Poitiers, after the triumphal passage through Italy, its publication in its final form must very shortly have followed. But literature was, for the present, to claim only the smaller share of his attention. Heartily as he must have rejoiced to be again in his home, he had many anxieties to face. The bishops of Gaul, as we saw from the Invective against Constantius, had been less militant against their Arian neighbours than he had wished. There had been peace in the Church; such peace as could be produced by a mutual ignoring of differences. And it may well be that the Gallican bishops, in their prejudice against the East, thought that Hilary himself had gone too far in the path of conciliation, and that his alliance with the Semiarians was a much longer step towards compromise with heresy than their own prudent neutrality. Each side must have felt that there was something to be explained. Hilary, for his part, by the publication of the De Trinitate had made it perfectly clear that his faith was above suspicion; and his abstinence in that work from all mention of existing parties or phases of the controversy shewed that he had withdrawn from his earlier position. He was now once more a Western bishop, concerned only with absolute truth and the interests of the Church in his own province. But he had to reckon with the sterner champions of the Nicene faith, who had not forgotten the De Synodis, however much they might approve the De Trinitate. Some curious fragments survive of the Apology which he was driven to write by the attacks of Lucifer of Cagliari. Lucifer, one of the exiles of Milan, was an uncompromising partisan, who could recognise no distinctions among those who did not accept the Nicene Creed. All were equally bad in his eyes; no explaining away of differences or attempt at conciliation was lawful. In days to come he was to be a thorn in the side of Athanasius, and was to end his life in a schism which he formed because the Catholic Church was not sufficiently exclusive. We, who know his after history and turn with repugnance from the monotonous railing with which his writings, happily brief, are filled, may be disposed to underestimate the man. But at the time he was a formidable antagonist. He had the great advantage of being one of the little company of confessors of the Faith, whom all the West admired. He represented truly enough the feeling of the Latin Churches, now that the oppression of their leaders had awakened their hostility to Arianism. And vigorous abuse, such as the facile pen of Lucifer could pour forth, is always interesting when addressed to prominent living men, stale though it becomes when the passions of the moment are no longer felt. Lucifer's protest is lost, but we may gather from the fragments of Hilary's reply that it was milder in tone than was usual with him. Indeed, confessor writing to confessor would naturally use the language of courtesy. But it was an arraignment of the policy which Hilary had adopted, and in which he had failed, though Athanasius was soon to resume it with better success. And courteously as it may have been worded, it cannot have been pleasant for Hilary to be publicly reminded of his failure, and to have doubts cast upon his consistency; least of all when he was returning to Gaul with new hopes, but also with new difficulties. His reply, so far as we can judge of it from the fragments which remain, was of a tone which would be counted moderate in the controversies of to-day. He addresses his opponent as `Brother Lucifer,' and patiently explains that he has been misunderstood. There is no confession that he had been in the wrong, though he fully admits that the term homoiousion, innocently used by his Eastern friends, was employed by others in a heretical sense. And he points out that Lucifer himself had spoken of the `likeness' of Son and Father, probably alluding to a passage in his existing writings  . The use of this tu quoque argument, and a certain apologetic strain which is apparent in the reply, seem to shew that Hilary felt himself at a disadvantage. He must have wished the Asiatic episode to be forgotten; he had now to make his weight felt in the West, where he had good hope that a direct and uncompromising attack upon Arianism would be successful.
For a great change was taking place in public affairs. When Hilary left Constantinople, early in the spring of the year 360, it was probably a profound secret in the capital that a rupture between Constantius and Julian was becoming inevitable. In affairs, civil and ecclesiastical, the Emperor and his favourite, the bishop Saturnine, must have seemed secure of their dominance in Gaul. But events moved rapidly. Constantius needed troops to strengthen the Eastern armies, never adequate to an emergency, for an impending war with Persia; he may also have desired to weaken the forces of Julian. He demanded men; those whom Julian detached for Eastern service refused to march, and proclaim Julian Emperor at Paris. This was in May, some months, at the least, before Hilary, delayed by his Italian labours in the cause of orthodoxy, can have reached home. Julian temporised; he kept up negotiations with Constantius, and employed his army in frontier warfare. But there could be no doubt of the issue. Conflict was inevitable, and the West could have little fear as to the result. The Western armies were the strongest in the Empire; it was with them that, in the last great trial of strength, Constantine the Great had won the day, and the victory of his nephew, successful and popular both as a commander and an administrator, must have been anticipated. Julian's march against Constantius did not commence till the summer of the year 361; but long before this the rule of Constantius and the theological system for which he stood had been rejected by Gaul. The bishops had not shunned Saturninus, as Hilary had desired; most of them had been induced to give their sanction to Arianism at the Council of Rimini. While overshadowed by Constantius and his representative Saturninus, they had not dared to assert themselves. But now the moment was come, and with it the leader. Hilary's arrival in Gaul must have taken place when the conflict was visibly impending, and he can have had no hesitation as to the side he should take. Julian's rule in Gaul began but a few months before his exile, and they had probably never met face to face. But Julian had a well earned reputation as a righteous governor, and Hilary had introduced his name into his second appeal to Constantius, as a witness to his character and as suffering in fame by the injustice of Constantius. We must remember that Julian had kept his paganism carefully concealed, and that all the world, except a few intimate friends, took it for granted that he was, as the high standard of his life seemed to indicate, a sincere Christian. And now he had displaced Constantius in the supreme rule over Gaul, and Saturninus, who had by this time returned, was powerless. We cannot wonder that Hilary continued his efforts; that he went through the land, everywhere inducing the bishops to abjure their own confession made at Rimini. This the bishops, for their part, were certainly willing to do; they were no Arians at heart, and their treatment at Rimini, followed as it was by a fraudulent misrepresentation of the meaning of their words, must have aroused their just resentment. Under the rule of Julian there was no risk, there was even an advantage, in shewing their colours; it set them right both with the new Emperor and with public opinion. But it was not enough for Hilary's purpose that the `inward evil' of a wavering faith should be amended; it was also necessary that avowed heresy should be expelled. For this the co-operation of Julian was necessary; and before it was granted Julian might naturally look for some definite pronouncement on Hilary's part. To this conjuncture, in the latter half of the year 360 or the earlier part of 361, we may best assign the publication of the Invective, already described, against Constantius. It was a renunciation of allegiance to his old master, not the less clear because the new is not mentioned. And with the name of Constantius was coupled that of Saturninus, as his abettor in tyranny and misbelief. Julian recognised the value of the Catholic alliance by giving effect to the decision of a Council held at Paris, which deposed Saturninus. Hilary had no ecclesiastical authority to gather such a Council, but his character and the eminence of his services no doubt rendered his colleagues willing to follow him; yet neither he nor they would have acted as they did without the assurance of Julian's support. Their action committed them irrevocably to Julian's cause; and it must have seemed that his expulsion of Saturninus committed him irrevocably to the orthodox side. Yet Julian impartially disbelieving both creeds, had made the ostensible cause of Saturninus' exile not his errors of faith, but some of those charges of misconduct which were always forthcoming when a convenient excuse was wanted for the banishment of a bishop. Saturninus was a man of the world, and very possibly his Arianism was only assumed in aid of his ambition; it is likely enough that his conduct furnished sufficient grounds for his punishment. The fall of its chief, Sulpicius Severus says, destroyed the party. The other Arian prelates, who must have been few in number, submitted to the orthodox tests, with one exception. Paternus of Périgord, a man of no fame, had the courage of his convictions. He stubbornly asserted his belief, and shared the fate of Saturninus. Thus Hilary obtained, what he had failed to get in the case of the more prominent offender, a clear precedent for the deposition of bishops guilty of Arianism. The synodical letter, addressed to the Eastern bishops in reply to letters which some of them had sent to Hilary since his return, was incorporated by him in his History, to be mentioned hereafter  . The bishops of Gaul assert their orthodoxy, hold Auxentius, Valens, Ursacius and their like excommunicate, and have just excommunicated Saturninus. By his action at Paris, so Sulpicius says, Hilary earned the glory that it was by his single exertions that the provinces of Gaul were cleansed from the defilements of heresy  .
These events happened before Julian left the country, in the middle of the summer of 361, on his march against Constantius; or at least, if the actual proceedings were subsequent to his departure, they must have quickly followed it, for his sanction was necessary, and when that was obtained there was no motive for delay. And now, for some years, Hilary disappears from sight. He tells us nothing in his writings of the ordinary course of his life and work; even his informal and discursive Homilies cast no light upon his methods of administration, his successes or failures, and very little on the character of his flock. There was no further conflict within the Church of Gaul during Hilary's lifetime. The death of Constantius, which happened before Julian could meet him in battle, removed all political anxiety. Julian himself was too busy with the revival of paganism in the East to concern himself seriously with its promotion in the Latin-speaking provinces, from which he was absent, and for which he cared less. The orthodox cause in Gaul did not suffer by his apostasy. His short reign was followed by the still briefer rule of the Catholic Jovian. Next came Valentinian, personally orthodox, but steadily refusing to allow depositions on account of doctrine. Under him Arianism dwindled away; Catholic successors were elected to Arian prelates, and the process would have been hastened but by a few years had Hilary been permitted to expel Auxentius from Milan, as we shall presently see him attempting to do.
This was his last interference in the politics of the Church, and does not concern us as yet. His chief interest henceforth was to be in literary work; in popularising and, as he thought, improving upon the teaching of Origen. He commented upon the book of Job, as we know from Jerome and Augustine. The former says that this, and his work on the Psalms, were translations from Origen. But that is far from an accurate account of the latter work, and may be equally inaccurate concerning the former. The two fragments which St. Augustine has preserved from the Commentary on Job are so short that we cannot draw from them any conclusion as to the character of the book. If we may trust Jerome, its length was somewhat more than a quarter of that of the Homilies on the Psalms  , in their present form. It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that the work should have fallen into oblivion. It was, no doubt, allegorical in its method, and nothing of that kind could survive in competition with Gregory the Great's inimitable Moralia on Job.
Hilary's other adaptation from Origen, the Homilies on the Psalms, happily remains to us. It is at least as great a work as the De Trinitate, and one from which we can learn even more what manner of man its writer was. For the De Trinitate is an appeal to all thoughtful Christians of the time, and written for future generations as well as for them; characteristic, as it is, in many ways of the author, the compass of the work and the stateliness of its rhetoric tend to conceal his personality. But the Homilies  on the Psalms, which would seem to have reached us in the notes of a shorthand writer, so artless and conversational is the style, shew us Hilary in another aspect. He is imparting instruction to his own familiar congregation; and he knows his people so well that he pours out whatever is passing through his mind. In fact, he seems often to be thinking aloud on subjects which interest him rather than addressing himself to the needs of his audience. Practical exhortation has, indeed, a much smaller space than mystical exegesis and speculative Christology. Yet abstruse questions are never made more obscure by involution of style. The language is free and flowing, always that of an educated man who has learnt facility by practice. And here, strange as it seems to a reader of the De Trinitate, he betrays a preference for poetical words  , which shews that his renunciation of such ornament elsewhere is deliberate. Yet, even here, he indulges in no definite reminiscences of the poets.
There remains only one trace, though it is sufficient, of the original circumstances of delivery. The Homily on Psalm xiv. begins with the words, `The Psalm which has been read.' The Psalms were sung as an act of worship, not read as a lesson, in the normal course of divine service; and therefore we must assume that the Psalm to be expounded was recited, by the rector or another, as an introduction to the Homily. We need not be surprised that such notices, which must have seemed to possess no permanent interest, have been edited away. Many of the Homilies are too long to have been delivered on one or even two occasions, yet the ascription of praise with which Hilary, like Origen, always concludes,  has been omitted in every case except at the end of the whole discourse. This shews that Hilary himself, or more probably some editor, has put the work into its final shape. But this editing of the Homilies has not extended to the excision of the numerous repetitions, which were natural enough when Hilary was delivering each as a commentary complete in itself, and do not offend us when we read the discourse on a single Psalm, though they certainly disfigure the work when regarded as a treatise on the whole Psalter.
It is probably due to the accidents of time that our present copies of the Homilies are imperfect. We are, indeed, better off than was Jerome. His manuscript contained Homilies on Psalms 1, 2, 51-62, 118-150, according to the Latin notation. We have, in addition to these, Homilies which are certainly genuine on Psalms 13, 14, 63-69; and others on the titles of Psalms 9 and 91, which are probably spurious  . Some more Homilies of uncertain origin which have been fathered upon Hilary, and may be found in the editions, may be left out of account. In the Homily on Psalm 59, § 2, he mentions one, unknown to Jerome as to ourselves, on Psalm 44; and this allusion, isolated though it is, suggests that the Homilies contained, or were meant to contain, a commentary on the whole Book of Psalms, composed in the order in which they stand. There is, of course, nothing strange in the circulation in ancient times of imperfect copies; a well-known instance is that of St. Augustine's copy of Cyprian which did not contain an epistle which has come down to us. This series of Homilies was probably continuous as well as complete. The incidental allusions to the events of the times contain nothing inconsistent with the supposition that he began at the beginning of the Psalter and went on to the end. We might, indeed, construe the language of that on Psalm 52, § 13, concerning prosperous clergy, who heap up wealth for themselves and live in luxury, as an allusion to men like Saturninus, but the passage is vague, and a vivid recollection, not a present evil, may have suggested it. More definite, and indeed a clear note of time, is the Homily on Psalm 63, where heathenism is aggressive and is become a real danger, of which Hilary speaks in the same terms as he does of heresy. This contrasts strongly with such language as that of the Homily on Psalm 67, § 20, where the heathen are daily flocking into the Church, or of that on Psalm 137, § 10, where paganism has collapsed, its temples are ruined and its oracles silent; such words as the former could only have been written in the short reign of Julian. Other indications, such as the frequent warnings against heresy and denunciations of heretics, are too general to help in fixing the date. On the whole, it would seem a reasonable hypothesis that Hilary began his connected series of Homilies on the Psalms soon after his return to Gaul, that he had made good progress with them when Julian publicly apostatised, and that they were not completed till the better times of Valentinian.
He was conversing in pastoral intimacy with his people, and hence we cannot be surprised that he draws, perhaps unconsciously, on the results of his own previous labours. For instance, on Psalm 61, § 2, he gives what is evidently a reminiscence, yet with features of its own and not as a professed autobiography, of his mental history as described in the opening of the De Trinitate. And while the direct controversy against Arianism is not avoided, there is a manifest preference for the development of Hilary's characteristic Christology, which had already occupied him in the later books of the De Trinitate. We must, indeed, reconstruct his doctrine in this respect even more from the Homilies than from the De Trinitate; and in the later work he not only expands what he had previously suggested, but throws out still further suggestions which he had not the length of life to present in a more perfect form. But the Homilies contain much that is of far less permanent interest. Wherever he can  , he brings in the mystical interpretation of numbers, that strange vagary of the Eastern mind which had, at least from the time of Irenæus and the Epistle of Barnabas, found a congenial home in Christian thought. This and other distortions of the sense of Scripture, which are the result in Hilary, as in Origen, of a prosaic rather than a poetical turn of mind, will find a more appropriate place for discussion at the beginning of the next chapter. Allusions to the mode of worship of his time are very rare  , as are details of contemporary life. Of general encouragement to virtue and denunciation of vice there is abundance, and it repeats with striking fidelity the teaching of Cyprian. Hilary displays the same Puritanism in regard to jewelry as does Cyprian  , and the same abhorrence of public games and spectacles. Of these three elements, the Christology, the mysticism, the moral teaching, the Homilies are mainly compact. They carry on no sustained argument and contain, as has been said, a good deal of repetition. In fact, a continuous reader will probably form a worse impression of their quality than he who is satisfied with a few pages at a time. They are eminently adapted for selection, and the three Homilies, those on Psalms 1, 53 and 130, which have been translated for this volume, may be inadequate, yet are fairly representative, as specimens of the instruction which Hilary conveys in this work.
It has been said that the practical teaching of Hilary is that of Cyprian. But this is not a literary debt  ; the writer to whom almost all the exegesis is due, by borrowing of substance or of method, is Origen, except where the spirit of the fourth century has been at work. Yet other authors have been consulted, and this not only for general information, as in the case, already cited, of the elder Pliny, but for interpretation of the Psalms. For instance, a strange legend concerning Mount Hermon is cited on Psalm 132, § 6, from a writer whose name Hilary does not know; and on Psalm 133, § 4, he has consulted several writers and rejects the opinion of them all. But these authorities, whoever they may have been, were of little importance for his purpose in comparison with Origen. Still we can only accept Jerome's assertion that the Homilies are translated from Origen in a qualified sense. Hilary was writing for the edification of his own flock, and was obliged to modify much that Origen had said if he would serve their needs, for religious thought had changed rapidly in the century which lay between the two, and a mere translation would have been as coldly received as would a reprint of some commentary of the age of George II. to-day. And Hilary's was a mind too active and independent to be the slave of a traditional interpretation. We must, therefore, expect to find a considerable divergence; and we cannot be surprised that Hilary, as he settled down to his task, grew more and more free in his treatment of Origen's exegesis.
Unhappily the remains of Origen's work upon the Psalms, though considerable, are fragmentary, and of the fragments scattered through Catenæ no complete or critical edition has yet been made. Still, insufficient as the material would be for a detailed study and comparison, enough survives to enable us to form a general idea of the relation between the two writers. Origen  composed Homilies upon the Psalter, a Commentary upon it, and a summary treatise, called the Enchiridion. The first of these works was Hilary's model; Origen's Homilies were diffuse extemporary expositions, ending, like Hilary's, with an ascription of praise. It is unfortunate that, of the few which survive, all treat of Psalms on which Hilary's Homilies are lost. But it is doubtful whether Hilary knew the other writings of Origen upon the Psalter. We have ourselves a very small knowledge of them, for the Catenæ are not in the habit of giving more than the name of the author whom they cite. Yet it may well be that some of the apparent discrepancies between the explanations given by Hilary and by Origen are due to the loss of the passage from Origen's Homily which would have agreed with Hilary, and to the survival of the different rendering given in the Commentary or the Enchiridion; some, no doubt, are also due to the carelessness and even dishonesty of the compilers of Catenæ in stating the authorship of their selections. But though it is possible that Hilary had access to all Origen's writings on the Psalms, there is no reason to suppose that he possessed a copy of his Hexapla. The only translation of the Old Testament which he names beside the Septuagint is that of Aquila; he is aware that there are others, but none save the Septuagint has authority or deserves respect, and his rare allusions to them are only such as we find in Origen's Homilies, and imply no such exhaustive knowledge of the variants as a possessor of the Hexapla would have.
A comparison of the two writers shews the closeness of their relation, and if we had Origen's complete Homilies, and not mere excerpts, the debt of Hilary would certainly be still more manifest. For the compilers of Catenæ have naturally selected what was best in Origen, and most suited for short extracts; his eccentricities have been in great measure omitted. Hence we may err in attributing to Hilary much that is perverse in his comments; there is an abundance of wild mysticism in the fragments of Origen, but its proportion to the whole is undoubtedly less in their present state than in their original condition. Hilary's method was that of paraphrasing, not of servile translation. There is apparently only one literal rendering of an extant passage of Origen, and that a short one  ; but paraphrases, which often become very diffuse expansions, are constant  . But a just comparison between the two must embrace their differences as well as their resemblances. Hilary has exercised a silent criticism in omitting many of Origen's textual disquisitions. He gives, it is true, many various readings, but his confidence in the Septuagint often renders him indifferent in regard to divergencies which Origen had taken seriously. The space which the latter devotes to the Greek versions Hilary employs in correcting the errors and variations of the Latin, or in explaining the meaning of Greek words. But these are matters which rather belong to the next chapter, concerning, as they do, Hilary's attitude towards Scripture. It is more significant of his tone of mind that he has omitted Origen's speculations on the resurrection of the body, preserved by Epiphanius  , and on the origin of evil  . Again, Origen delights to give his readers a choice of interpretations; Hilary chooses one of those which Origen has given, and makes no mention of the other. This is his constant habit in the earlier part of the Homilies; towards the end, however, he often gives a rendering of his own, and also mentions, either as possible or as wrong, that which Origen had offered. Or else, though he only makes his own suggestion, yet it is obvious to those who have Origen at hand that he has in his mind, and is refuting for his own satisfaction, an alternative which he does not think good to lay before his audience  . A similar liberty with his original occurs in the Homily on Psalm 135, § 12:--`The purposes of the present discourse and of this place forbid us to search more deeply.' This must have seemed a commonplace to his hearers; but it happens that Origen's speculations upon the passage have survived, and we can see that Hilary was rather making excuses to himself for his disregard of them than directly addressing his congregation. Apart from the numerous instances where Hilary derives a different result from the same data, there are certain cases where he accepts the current Latin text, though it differed from Origen's Greek, and draws, without any reference to Origen, his own conclusions as to the meaning  . These, again, seem to be confined to the latter part of the work, and may be the result of occasional neglect to consult the authorities, rather than a deliberate departure from Origen's teaching.
But the chief interest of the comparison between the writings of these two Fathers upon the Psalms lies in the insight which it affords into their respective modes of thought. Fragmentary as they are, Origen's words are a manifestly genuine and not inadequate expression of his mind; and Hilary, a recognised authority and conscious of his powers, has so moulded and transformed his original, now adapting and now rejecting, that he has made it, even on the ground which is common to both, a true and sufficient representation of his own mental attitude. The Roman contrasts broadly with the Greek. He constantly illustrates his discourse with historical incidents of Scripture, taken in their literal sense; there are few such in Origen. Origen is full, as usual, of praises of the contemplative state; in speculation upon Divine things consists for him the happiness everywhere promised to the saints. Hilary ignores abstract speculation, whether as a method of interpretation or as a hope for the future, and actually describes  the contemplation of God's dealings with men as merely one among other modes of preparation for eternal blessings. In the same discourse he paraphrases the words of Origen, `He who has done all things that conduce to the knowledge of God,' by `They who have the abiding sense of a cleansed heart  .' Though he is the willing slave of the allegorical method, yet he revolts from time to time against its excesses in Origen; their treatment of Psalm 126, in the one case practical, in the other mystical, is a typical example  . Hilary's attention is fixed on concrete things; the enemies denounced in the Psalms mean for him the heretics of the day, while Origen had recognised in them the invisible agency of evil spirits  . The words `Who teacheth my hands to fight' suggest to Origen intellectual weapons and victories; they remind Hilary of the `I have overcome the world' of Christ  . In fact, the thought of Hilary was so charged with definite convictions concerning Christ, and so impressed with their importance that his very earnestness and concentration betrays him into error of interpretation. It would be an insufficient, yet not a false, contrast between him and Origen to say that the latter distorts, with an almost playful ingenuity, the single words or phrases of Scripture, while Hilary, with masterful indifference to the principles of exegesis, will force a whole chapter to render the sense which he desires. And his obvious sincerity, his concentration of thought upon one great and always interesting doctrine, his constant appeal to what seems to be, and sometimes is, the exact sense of Scripture, and the vigour of his style, far better adapted to its purpose than that of Origen; all these render him an even more convincing exponent than the other of the bad system of interpretation which both have adopted. Sound theological deductions and wise moral reflections on every page make the reader willing to pardon a vicious method, for Hilary's doctrine is never based upon his exegesis of the Psalms. No primary truth depends for him upon allegory or mysticism, and it may be that he used the method with the less caution because he looked for nothing more than that it should illustrate and confirm what was already established. Since, then, the permanent interest of the work is that it shews us what seemed to Hilary, as a representative of his age, to be the truth, and we have in it a powerful and original presentation of that truth, we can welcome, as a quaint and not ungraceful enlivening of his argument, this ingenuity of misinterpretation. And we may learn also a lesson for ourselves of the importance of the doctrine which he inculcates with such perseverance. Confronting him as it did, in various aspects, at every turn and in the most unlikely places during his journey through the Psalter, his faith concerning Christ was manifestly in Hilary's eyes the vital element of religion.
The Homilies on the Psalms have never been a popular work. Readable as they are, and free from most of the difficulties which beset the De Trinitate, posterity allowed them to be mutilated, and, as we saw, only a portion has come down to us. Their chief influence, like that of the other treatise, has been that which Hilary has exercised through them upon writers of greater fame. Ambrose has borrowed from them liberally and quite uncritically for his own exposition of certain of the Psalms; and Ambrose, accredited by his own fame and that of his greater friend Augustine, has quite overshadowed the fame of Hilary. The Homilies may, perhaps, have also suffered from an undeserved suspicion that anything written by the author of the De Trinitate would be hard to read. They have, in any case, been little read; and yet, as the first important example in Latin literature of the allegorical method, and as furnishing the staple of a widely studied work of St. Ambrose, they have profoundly affected the course of Christian thought. Their historical interest as well as their intrinsic value commands our respect.
In his Homily on Psalm 138, § 4, Hilary briefly mentions the Patriarchs as examples of faith and adds, `but these are matters of which we must discourse more suitably and fully in their proper place.' This is a promise to which till of late no known work of our writer corresponded. Jerome had, indeed, informed us  that Hilary had composed a treatise entitled De Mysteriis, but no one had connected it with his words in the Homily. It had been supposed that the lost treatise dealt with the sacraments, in spite of the facts that it is Hilary's custom to speak of types as `mysteries,' and that the sacraments are a theme upon which he never dwells. But in 1887 a great portion of Hilary's actual treatise on the Mysteries was recovered in the same manuscript which contained the more famous Pilgrimage to the Holy Places of Silvia of Aquitaine  . It is a short treatise of two books, unhappily mutilated at the beginning, in the middle and near the end, though the peroration has survived. The title is lost, but there is no reason to doubt that Jerome was nearly right in calling it a tractatus, though he would have done better had he used the plural. It is written in the same easy style as the Homilies on the Psalms, and if it was not originally delivered as two homilies, as is probable, it must be a condensation of several discourses into a more compact form. The first book deals with the Patriarchs, the second with the Prophets, regarded as types of Christ. The whole is written from the point of view with which Hilary's other writings have made us familiar. Every deed recorded in Scripture proclaims or typifies or proves the advent of the incarnate Christ, and it is Hilary's purpose to display the whole of His work as reflected in the Old Testament, like an image in a mirror. He begins with Adam and goes on to Moses, deriving lessons from the lives of all the chief characters, often with an exercise of great ingenuity. For instance, in the history of the Fall Eve is the Church, which is sinful but shall be saved through bearing children in Baptism  ; the burning bush is a type of the endurance of the Church, of which St. Paul speaks in 2 Cor. iv. 8  ; the manna was found in the morning, the time of Christ's Resurrection and therefore of the reception of heavenly food in the Eucharist. They who collect too much are heretics with their excess of argument  . In the second book we have a fragmentary and desultory treatment of incidents in the lives of the Prophets, which Hilary ends by saying that in all the events which he has recorded we recognise `God the Father and God the Son, and God the Son from God the Father, Jesus Christ, God and Man  .' The peroration, in fact, reads like a summary of the argument of the De Trinitate. Of the genuineness of the little work there can be no doubt. Its language, its plan, its arguments are unmistakably those of Hilary  . The homilies were probably delivered soon after he had finished his course on the Psalms, of which they contain some reminiscences, such as we saw are found in the later Homilies on the Psalms of earlier passages in the same. In all probability the subject matter of the De Mysteriis is mainly drawn from Origen. It is too short, and too much akin to Hilary's more important writings, to cast much light upon his modes of thought. He has, indeed, no occasion to speak here upon the points on which his teaching is most original and characteristic.
In this same manuscript, discovered by Gamurrini at Arezzo, are the remains of what professes to be Hilary's collection of hymns. He has always had the fame of being the earliest Latin hymn writer. This was, indeed, a task which the circumstances of his life must have suggested to him. The conflict with Arianism forced him to become the pioneer of systematic theology in the Latin tongue; it also drove him into exile in the East, where he must have acquainted himself with the controversial use made of hymnody by the Arians. Thus it was natural that he should have introduced hymns also into the West. But if the De Trinitate had little success, the hymns were still more unfortunate. Jerome tells us that Hilary complained of finding the Gauls unteachable in sacred song  ; and there is no reason to suppose that he had any wide or permanent success in introducing hymns into public worship  . If Hilary must have the credit of originality in this respect, the honour of turning his suggestion to account belongs to Ambrose, whose fame in more respects than one is built upon foundations laid by the other. And if but a scanty remnant of the verse of Ambrose, popular as it was, survives, we cannot be surprised that not a line remains which can safely be attributed to Hilary, though authorities who deserve respect have pronounced in favour of more than one of the five hymns which we must consider.
Hilary's own opinion concerning the use of hymns can best be learnt from his Homilies of Psalms 64 and 65. In the former (§ 12) the Church's delightful exercise of singing hymns at morning and evening is one of the chief tokens which she has of God's mercy towards her. In the latter (§ 1) we are told that sacred song requires the accompaniment of instrumental harmonies; that the combination to this end of different forms of service and of art produces a result acceptable to God. The lifting of the voice to God in exultation, as an act of spiritual warfare against the devil and his hosts, is given as an example of the uses of hymnody (§ 4). It is a means of putting the enemy to flight; `Whoever he be that takes his post outside the Church, let him hear the voice of the people at their prayers, let him mark the multitudinous sound of our hymns, and in the performance of the divine Sacraments let him recognise the responses which our loyal confession makes. Every adversary must needs be affrighted, the devil routed, death conquered in the faith of the Resurrection, by such jubilant utterance of our exultant voice. The enemy will know that this gives pleasure to God and assurance to our hope, even this public and triumphant raising of our voice in song.' Original composition, both of words and music, is evidently in Hilary's mind; and we can see that he is rather recommending a useful novelty than describing an established practice. It is a remarkable coincidence that the five hymns which are called his are, in fact, a song of triumph over the devil, and a hymn in praise of the Resurrection, which are, so their editor thinks, actually alluded to in the Homily cited above; a confession of faith; and a morning hymn and one which has been taken for an evening hymn. These are exactly the subjects which correspond to Hilary's description.
But, when we come to the examination of these hymns in detail, the gravest doubts arise. The first three were discovered in the same manuscript to which we owe the De Mysteriis. They formed part of a small collection, which cannot have numbered more than seven or eight hymns, of which these three only have escaped, not without some mutilation. That which stands first is the confession of faith, the matter of which contains nothing that is inconsistent with Hilary's time. But beyond this, and the fact that the manuscript ascribes it to Hilary, there is nothing to suggest his authorship. It is a dreary production in a limping imitation of an Horatian metre; an involved argumentative statement of Catholic doctrine, in which it would be difficult to say whether verse or subject suffers the more from their unwanted union. The sequence of thought is helped out by the mechanical device of an alphabetical arrangement of the stanzas, but even this assistance could not make it intelligible to an ordinary congregation  . And the want of literary skill in the author makes it impossible to suppose that Hilary is he; classical knowledge was still on too high a level for an educated man to perpetrate such solecisms.
In the same manuscript there follow, after an unfortunate gap, the two hymns to which it has been suggested that Hilary alludes in his Homily on Psalm 65, those which celebrate the praises of the Resurrection and the triumph over Satan. The former is by a woman's hand, and the feminine forms of the language must have made it, one would think, unsuitable for congregational singing. There is no reason why the poem should not date from the fourth century; indeed, since it is written by a neophyte, that date is more probable than a later time, when adult converts to Christianity were more scarce. It has considerable merits; it is fervid in tone and free in movement, and has every appearance of being the expression of genuine feeling. It is, in fact, likely enough that, if it were written in Hilary's day, he should have inserted it in a collection of sacred verse. Concerning its authorship the suggestion has been made  that it was written by Florentia, a heathen maiden converted by Hilary near Seleucia, who followed him to Gaul, lived, died, and was buried by him in his diocese. The story of Florentia rests on no better authority than the worthless biography of Hilary, written by Fortunatus, who, moreover, says nothing about hymns composed by her. Neither proof nor disproof is possible: unless we regard the defective Latinity as evidence in favour of a Greek origin for the authoress. The third hymn, which celebrates the triumph of Christ over Satan, may or may not be the work of the same hand as the second. It bears much more resemblance to it than to the laborious and prosaic effusion which stands first. The manuscript which contains these three hymns distinctly assigns the first, and one or more which have perished, to Hilary:--`Incipiunt hymni eiusdem.' Whether a fresh title stood before the later hymns, which clearly belong to another, we cannot say; the collection is too short for this to be probable. It is obvious that, if we have in this manuscript the remains of a hymn-book for actual use, it was, like ours, a compilation; brief as it was, it may have been as large as the cumbrous shape of ancient volumes would allow to be cheaply multiplied and conveniently used. Many popular treatises, as for instance some by Tertullian and Cyprian, were quite as short. Who the compiler may have been must remain unknown. We must attach some importance to the evidence of the manuscript which has restored to us the De Mysteriis and the Pilgrimage of Silvia; and we may reasonably suppose that this collection was made in the time, and even with the sanction, of Hilary, though we cannot accept him as the author of any of the three hymns which remain.
The spurious letter to his imaginary daughter Abra was apparently written with the ingenious purpose of fathering upon Hilary the morning hymn, Lucis Largitor splendide. This is a hymn of considerable beauty, in the same metre as the genuine Ambrosian hymns. But there is this essential difference, that while in the latter the rules of classical versification as regards the length of syllables are scrupulously followed, in the former these rules are ignored, and rhythm takes the place of quantity. This is a sufficient proof that the hymn is of a later date than Ambrose, and, a fortiori, than Hilary. There remains the so-called evening hymn, which has been supposed to be the companion to the last  . This, again, is alphabetical, and contains in twenty-three stanzas a confession of sin, an appeal to Christ and an assertion of orthodoxy. The rules of metre are neglected in favour of an uncouth attempt at rhythm. Latin appears to have been a dead language to the writer  , who adorns his lines with little pieces of pagan mythology, and whose taste is indicated by his description of heretics as `barking Sabellius and grunting Simon.' The hymn is probably the work of some bombastic monk, perhaps of the time of Charles the Great; unlike the other four, it cannot possibly date from Hilary's generation.
Omitting certain fragments of treatises of which Hilary may, or may not, have been the author  , we now come to his attack upon Auxentius of Milan, and to the last of his complete works. Dionysius of Milan had been, as we saw, a sufferer in the same cause as Hilary. But he had been still more hardly treated; he had not only been exiled, but his place had been taken by Auxentius, an Eastern Arian of the school favoured by Constantius. Dionysius died in exile, and Auxentius remained in undisputed possession of the see. He must have been a man of considerable ability; perhaps, as we have mentioned, he was the creator of the so-called Ambrosian ritual, and certainly he was the leader of the Arian party in Italy and the further West. The very fact that Constantius and his advisers chose him for so great a post as the bishopric of Milan proves that they had confidence in him. He justified their trust, holding his own without apparent difficulty at Milan and working successfully in the cause of compromise at Ariminum and elsewhere. Athanasius mentions him often and bitterly as a leader of the heretics; and he must be ranked with Ursacius and Valens as one of the most unscrupulous of his party. While Constantius reigned Auxentius was, of course, safe from attack. But at the end of the year 364 Hilary thought that the opportunity was come. Since his last entry into the conflict Julian and his successor Jovian had died, and Valentinian had for some months been Emperor. He had just divided the Roman Empire with his brother Valens, himself choosing the Western half with Milan for his capital, while he gave Constantinople and the East to Valens. The latter was a man of small abilities, unworthy to reign, and a convinced Arian; Valentinian, with many faults, was a strong ruler, and favoured the cause of orthodoxy. But he was, before all else, a soldier and a statesman; his orthodoxy was, perhaps, a mere acquiescence in the predominant belief among his subjects, and it had, in any case, much less influence over his conduct than had Arianism over that of Valens. It must have seemed to Hilary and to Eusebius of Vercelli that there was danger to the Church in the possession by Auxentius of so commanding a position as that of bishop of Milan, with constant access to the Emperor's ear; and especially now that the Emperor was new to his work and had no knowledge, perhaps no strong convictions, concerning the points at issue. As far as they could judge, their success or failure in displacing Auxentius would influence the fortunes of the Church for a generation at least. It would, therefore, be unjust to accuse Hilary as a mere busy-body. He interfered, it is true, outside his own province, but it was at a serious crisis; and his knowledge of the Western Church must have assured him that, if he did not act, the necessary protest would probably remain unmade.
Hilary, then, in company with his any Eusebius, hastened to Milan in order to influence the mind of Valentinian against Auxentius, and to waken the dormant orthodoxy of the Milanese Church. For there seems to have been little local opposition to the Arian bishop: no organised congregation of Catholics in the city rejected his communion. On the other hand, there was no militant Arianism; the worship conducted by Auxentius could excite no scruples, and in his teaching he would certainly avoid the points of difference. He and his school had no desire to persecute orthodoxy because it was orthodox. From their point of view, the Faith had been settled in such a way that their own position was unassailable, and all they wished was to live and to let live. And we must remember that the Council of Rimini, disgraceful as the manner was in which its decision had been reached, was still the rule of the Faith for the Western Church. Hilary and Eusebius had induced a multitude of bishops, amid the applause of their flocks, to recant; but private expressions of opinion, however numerous, could not erase the definitions of Rimini from the records of the Church. It was not till the year 369 that a Council at Rome expunged them. The first object of the allies was to excite opposition to the Arian, and in this they had some success. Auxentius, in his petition to the Emperor, which we possess, asserts that they stirred up certain of the laity, who had been in communion neither with himself nor with his predecessors, to call him a heretic. The immediate predecessor of Auxentius was the Catholic Dionysius, and we cannot suppose that this is a fair description of Hilary's followers. But it is probable that the malcontents were not numerous, for none but enthusiasts would venture into apparent schism on account of a heresy which was certainly not conspicuous. How long Hilary was allowed to continue his efforts is unknown. Valentinian reached Milan in the November of 364, and left it in the Autumn of the following year; and before his departure his decision had frustrated Hilary's purpose. We only know that, as soon as the matter grew serious, Auxentius appealed to the Emperor. There was no point more important in the eyes of the government than unity within the local Churches, and Auxentius, being formally in the right, must have made his appeal with much confidence. His success was immediate. The Emperor issued what Hilary calls a 'grievous edict  ,' the terms of which Hilary does not mention. He only says that under the pretext, and with the desire, of unity, Valentinian threw the faithful Church of Milan into confusion. In other words, he forbade Hilary to agitate for a separation of the people from their bishop.
But Hilary, silenced in the city, exerted himself at court. With urgent importunity, he tells us, he pressed his charges against Auxentius, and induced the Emperor to appoint a commission to consider them. In due time this commission met. It consisted of two lay officials, with `some ten' bishops as assessors  . Hilary and Eusebius were present, as well as the accused. Auxentius pleaded his own cause, beginning with the unfortunate attack upon his adversaries that they had been deposed by Council, and therefore had no locus standi as accusers of a bishop. This was untrue; Hilary, we know, had been banished, but his see had never been declared vacant, nor, in all probability, had that of Eusebius. They were not intruders, like Auxentius, though even he had gained some legality for his position from the death of Dionysius in exile. The failure of this plea was so complete that Hilary, in his account of the matter, declares that it is not worth his while to repeat his defence. Next came the serious business of the commission. This was not the theological enquiry after truth, but the legal question whether, in fact, the teaching of Auxentius was in conformity with recognised standards. Hilary had asserted that his creed differed from that of the Emperor and of all other Christians, and had asserted it in very unsparing language. He now maintained his allegation, and, in doing so, gave Auxentius a double advantage. For he diverged into the general question of theology, while Auxentius stuck to the letter of the decisions of Rimini; and the words of Hilary had been such that he could claim to be a sufferer from calumny. Hilary's account of the doctrinal discussion is that he forced the reluctant Auxentius by his questions to the very edge of a denial of the Faith; that Auxentius escaped from this difficulty by a complete surrender, to which Hilary pinned him down by making him sign an orthodox confession, in terms to which he had several times agreed during the course of the debate; that Hilary remitted this confession through the Quæstor, the lay president of the commission, to the Emperor. This document, which Hilary says that he appended to his explanatory letter, is unfortunately lost. The brief account of the matter which Auxentius gives is not inconsistent with Hilary's. He tells us that he began by protesting that he had never known or seen Arius, and did not even know what his doctrine was; he proceeded to declare that he still believed and preached the truths which he had been taught in his infancy and of which he had satisfied himself by study of Scripture; and he gives a summary of the statement of faith which he made before the commission. But he says not a word about the passage of arms between Hilary and himself, of his defeat, and of the enforced signature of a confession which contradicted his previous assertions.
Hilary's account of the proceedings must certainly be accepted. But, though his moral and dialectical victory was complete, it is obvious that he had gained no advantage for his cause. He had taunted Auxentius as an adherent of Arius. Auxentius had an immediate reply, which put his opponent in the wrong. We cannot doubt that he spoke the truth, when he said that he had never known Arius; and it certainly was the case, that in the early years of the fourth century, inadequate statements of the doctrine of the Trinity were widely prevalent and passed without dispute. It was also true that the dominant faction at the court of Constantius, of which Auxentius had been a leader, had in the most effectual way disclaimed complicity with Arianism by ejecting its honest professors from their sees and by joining with their lips in the universal condemnation of the founder of that heresy. But if this was their shame, it was also, in such circumstances as those of Auxentius, their protection. And Auxentius held one of the greatest positions in the church, and even in the state, now that Milan was to be, so it seemed, the capital of the West. The spirit of the government at that time was one of almost Chinese reverence for official rank; and it must have seemed an outrage that the irresponsible bishop of a city, mean in comparison with Milan, should assail Auxentius in such terms as Hilary had used. Even though he had admitted, instead of repudiating, the affinity with Arius, there would have been an impropriety in the use of that familiar weapon, the labelling of a party with the name of its most discredited and unpopular member. We may be sure that Auxentius, a man of the world, would derive all possible advantage from this excessive vehemence of his adversary. In the debate itself, where Hilary would have the advantage not only of a sound cause, but of greater earnestness, we cannot be surprised that he won the victory. Auxentius was probably indifferent at heart; Hilary had devoted his life and all his talents to the cause, but such a victory could have no results, beyond lowering Auxentius in public esteem and self-respect. It does not appear from his words or from those of Hilary, that the actual creed of Rimini was imported into the dispute. It was on it that Auxentius relied; if he did not expressly contradict its terms, the debate became a mere discussion concerning abstract truth. The legal standard of doctrine was no more affected by his unwilling concession than it had been a few years before by the numerous repudiations, prompted by Hilary and Eusebius, of the vote given at Rimini. The confession which Hilary annexed in triumph to his narrative was the mere incidental expression of a private opinion, which Auxentius, in his further plea, could afford to leave unnoticed.
The commissioners no doubt made their report privately to the Emperor. We do not know its tenour, but from the sequel we may be sure that they gave it as their opinion that Auxentius was the lawful bishop of Milan. Some time passed before Valentinian spoke. Whether Hilary took any further steps to influence his decision is unknown; but we possess a memorial addressed `to the most blessed and glorious Emperors Valentinian and Valens' by Auxentius. The two brothers were, by mutual arrangement, each sovereign within his own dominion, but they ruled as colleagues, not as rivals; and Auxentius must have taken courage from the thought that it would seem unnatural and impolitic for the elder to seize this first opportunity of proclaiming his dissent from the cherished convictions of the younger, by degrading one of the very school which his brother delighted to honour. For what had been proposed was not the silent filling of a vacant place, but the public ejection of a bishop whose station was not much less prominent than that of Athanasius himself, and his ejection on purely theological grounds. Constantius himself had rarely been so bold; his acts of oppression, as in Hilary's case, were usually cloaked by some allegation of misconduct on the victim's part. But Auxentius had more than the character of Valens and political considerations on which to rely. In the forefront of his defence he put the Council of Rimini. This attack by Hilary and his friends was, according to him, the attempt of a handful of men to break up the unity attained by the labours of that great assembly of six hundred bishops  . He declared his firm assent to all its decisions; every heresy that it had condemned he condemned. He sent with his address a copy of the Acts of the Council, and begged the Emperor to have them read to him. Its language would convince him that Hilary and Eusebius, bishops long deposed, were merely plotting universal schism. This, with his own account of the proceedings before the commission and a short statement of his belief, forms his appeal to the Emperor. It was composed with great skill, and was quite unanswerable. His actual possession of the see, the circumstances of the time, the very doctrine of the Church--for only a Council could undo what a Council had done--rendered his position unassailable. And if he was in the right, Hilary and his colleague were in the wrong. Nothing but success could have saved them from the humiliation to which they were now subjected, of being expelled from Milan and bidden to return to their homes, while the Emperor publicly recognised Auxentius by receiving the Communion at his hands. Yet morally they had been in the right throughout. The strong legal position of Auxentius and the canons of that imposing Council of six hundred bishops behind which he screened himself had been obtained by deliberate fraud and oppression. He and his creed could not have, and did not deserve to have, any stability. Yet Valentinian was probably in the right, even in the interests of truth, in refusing to make a martyr of Auxentius. There would have been reprisals in the East, where the Catholic cause had far more to lose than had Arianism in the West; and general considerations of equity and policy must have inclined him to allow the Arian to pass the remainder of his days in peace. But we cannot wonder that Hilary failed to appreciate such reasons. He had thrown himself with all his heart into the attack, and risked in it his public credit as bishop and confessor and first of Western theologians. Hence his published account of the transaction is tinged with a pardonable shade of personal resentment. It was, indeed, necessary that he should issue a statement. The assault and the repulse were rendered conspicuous by time and place, and by the eminence of the persons engaged; and it was Hilary's duty to see that the defeat which he had incurred brought no injury upon his cause. He therefore addressed a public letter `to the beloved brethren who abide in the Faith of the fathers and repudiate the Arian heresy, the bishops and all their flocks.' He begins by speaking of the blessings of peace, which the Christians of that day could neither enjoy nor promote, beset as they were by the forerunners of Antichrist, who boasted of the peace, in other words of the harmonious concurrence in blasphemy, which they had brought about. They bear themselves not as bishops of Christ but as priests of Antichrist. This is not random abuse (§ 2), but sober recognition of the fact, stated by St. John, that there are many Antichrists. For these men assume the cloak of piety, and pretend to preach the Gospel, with the one object of inducing others to deny Christ. It was (§ 3) the misery and folly of the day that men endeavoured to promote the cause of God by human means and the favour of the world. Hilary asks bishops, who believe in their office, whether the Apostles had secular support when by their preaching they converted the greater part of mankind. They were not adorned with palace dignities; scourged and fettered, they sang their hymns. It was in obedience to no royal edict that Paul gathered a Church for Christ; he was exposed to public view in the theatre. Nero and Vespasian and Decius were no patrons of the Church; it was through their hatred that the truth had thriven. The Apostles laboured with their hands and worshipped in garrets and secret places, and in defiance of senate or monarch visited, it might be said, every village and every tribe. Yet it was these rebels who had the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; the more they were forbidden, the more they preached, and the power of God was made manifest. But now (§ 4) the Faith finds favour with men.
The Church seeks for secular support, and in so doing insults Christ by the implication that his support is insufficient. She in her turn holds out the threat of exile and prison. It was her endurance of these that drew men to her; now she imposes her faith by violence. She craves for favours at the hands of her communicants; once it was her consecration that she braved the threatenings of persecutors. Bishops in exile spread the Faith; now it is she that exiles bishops. She boasts that the world loves her; the world's hatred was the evidence that she was Christ's. The ruin is obvious which has fallen upon the Church. The time of Antichrist, disguised as an angel of light, has come. The true Christ is hidden from almost every mind and heart. Antichrist is now obscuring the truth that he may assert falsehood hereafter. Hence the conflicting opinions of the time, the doctrine of Arius and of his heirs, Valens, Ursacius, Auxentius and their fellows. Their preaching of novelties concerning Christ is the work of Antichrist, who is using them to introduce his own worship. This is proved (§ 6) by a statement of their minimising and prevaricating doctrine, which has, however, made no impression upon the guileless and well-meaning laity. Then (§§ 7-9) comes Hilary's account of his proceedings at Milan, strongly coloured by the intensity of his feelings. The Emperor's first refusal to interfere with Auxentius is a `command that the Church of the Milanese, which confesses that Christ is true God, of one divinity and substance with the Father, should be thrown into confusion under the pretext, and with the desire, of unity.' The canons of Rimini are described as those of the Thracian Nicæa; Auxentius' protest that he had never known Arius is met by the assertion that he had been ordained to the presbyterate in an Arian Church under George of Alexandria. Hilary refuses to discuss the Council of Rimini; it had been universally and righteously repudiated. His ejection from Milan, in spite of his protests that Auxentius was a liar and a renegade, is a revelation of the mystery of ungodliness. For Auxentius (§§ 10, 11) had spoken with two contrary voices; the one that of the confession which Hilary had driven him to sign, the other that of Rimini. His skill in words could deceive even the elect, but he had been clearly exposed. Finally (§ 12) Hilary regrets that he cannot state the case to each bishop and Church in person. He begs them to make the best of his letter; he dares not make it fully intelligible by circulating with it the Arian blasphemies which he had assailed. He bids them beware of Antichrist, and warns against love and reverence for the material structure of their churches, wherein Antichrist will one day have his seat. Mountains and woods and dens of beasts and prison and morasses are the places of safety; in them some of the Prophets had lived, and some had died. He bids them shun Auxentius as an angel of Satan, an enemy of Christ, a deceiver and a blasphemer. `Let him assemble against me what synods he will, let him proclaim me, as he has often done already, a heretic by public advertisement, let him direct, at his will, the wrath of the mighty against me; yet, being an Arian, he shall be nothing less than a devil in my eyes. Never will I desire peace except with them who, following the doctrine of our fathers at Nicæa, shall make the Arians anathema and proclaim the true divinity of Christ.'
These are the concluding words of Hilary's last public utterance. We see him again giving an unreserved adhesion, in word as well as in heart, to the Nicene confession. It was the course dictated by policy as well as by conviction. His cautious language in earlier days had done good service to the Church in the East, and had made it easier for those who had compromised themselves at Rimini to reconcile themselves with him and with the truth for which he stood. But by this time all whom he could wish to win had given in their adhesion; Auxentius and the few who held with him, if such there were, were irreconcilable. They took their stand upon the Council of Rimini, and their opponents found in the doctrine of Nicæa the clear and uncompromising challenge which was necessary for effective warfare. But if Hilary's doctrinal position is definite, his theory of the relations of church and State, if indeed his indignation allowed him to think of them, is obscure. An orthodox Emperor was upholding an Arian, and Hilary, while giving Valentinian credit for personal good faith, is as eager as in the worst days of Constantius for a severance. We must, however, remember that this manifesto, though it is the expression of a settled policy in the matter of doctrine, is in other respects the unguarded outpouring of an injured feeling. And here again we find the old perplexity of the `inward evil.' Auxentius is represented as in the church and outside it at the same time. He is an Antichrist, a devil, all that is evil; but Hilary is threatened and it is the Church that threatens, submission to an Arian is enforced and it is the church which enforces it  . And if Auxentius had adhered to the confession which Hilary had induced him to sign, all objection to his episcopate would apparently have ceased. The time had not come, if it ever can come, for the solution of such problems. Meantime Hilary did his best, so far as words could do it, to brush aside the sophistries behind which Auxentius was defending himself. The doctrine of Rimini is named that of Nicæa, in Thrace, where the discreditable and insignificant assembly met in which its terms were settled; the Church of Alexandria under the intruder George is frankly called Arian. It was an appeal to the future as well as an apology for himself. But certainly it could not move Valentinian, nor can Hilary have expected that it should. And, after all, Valentinian's action was harmless, at least. By Hilary's own confession, Auxentius had no influence for evil over his flock, and these proceedings must have warned him, if he needed the warning, that abstinence from aggressive Arianism was necessary if he would end his days in peace. The Emperor's policy remained unchanged. At the Roman Council of the year 369 the Western bishops formally annulled the proceedings of Rimini, and so deprived Auxentius of his legal position. At the same time, as the logical consequence, they condemned him to deposition, but Valentinian refused to give effect to their sentence, and Auxentius remained bishop of Milan till his death in the year 374. He had outlived Hilary and Eusebius, and also Athanasius, the promoter of the last attack upon him; he had also outlived whatever Arianism there had been in Milan. His successor, St. Ambrose, had the enthusiastic support of his people in his conflicts with Arian princes. The Church could have gained little by Hilary's success, and yet we cannot be sure that, in a broad sense, he failed. So resolute a bearing must have effectually strengthened the convictions of Valentinian and the fears of Auxentius.
There remains one work of Hilary to be considered. This was a history of the Arian controversy in such of its aspects as had fallen under his own observation. We know from Jerome's biography of Hilary that he wrote a book against Valens and Ursacius, containing an account of the Councils of Rimini and Seleucia. They had been his adversaries throughout his career, and had held their own against him. To them, at least as much as to Constantius, the overthrow of his Asiatic friends was due, and to them he owed the favour, which must have galled him, of permission to return to his diocese. Auxentius was one of their allies, and the failure of Hilary's attack upon him made it clear that these men too, as subjects of Valentinian, were safe from merited deposition. Their worldly success was manifest; it was a natural and righteous task which Hilary undertook when he exposed their true character. It was clear that while Valens and Valentinian lived--and they were in early middle life--there would be an armed peace within the Western Church; that the overthrow of bishop by bishop in theological strife would be forbidden. The pen was the only weapon left to Hilary, and he used it to give an account of events from the time of that Council of Arles, in the year 353, which was the beginning for Gaul of the Arian conflict. He followed its course, with especial reference to Ursacius and Valens, until the year 367, or at least the end of 366; the latest incident recorded in the fragments which we possess must have happened within a few months of his death. The work was less a history than a collection of documents strung together by an explanatory narrative. It is evident that it was not undertaken as a literary effort; its aim is not the information of future generations, but the solemn indictment at the bar of public opinion of living offenders. It must have been, when complete, a singularly businesslike production, with no graces of style to render it attractive and no generalisations to illuminate its pages. Had the whole been preserved, we should have had a complete record of Hilary's life; as it is, we have thirteen valuable fragments  , to which we owe a considerable part of our general knowledge of the time, though they tell us comparatively little of his own career. `The commencement of the work has happily survived, and from it we learn the spirit in which he wrote. He begins (Fragment i. §§ 1, 2) with an exposition of St. Paul's doctrine of faith, hope, and love. He testifies, with the Apostle, that the last is the greatest. The inseparable bond, of which he is conscious, of God's love for him and his for God, has detached him from worldly interests. He, like others (§ 3), might have enjoyed ease and prosperity and imperial friendship, and have been, as they were, a bishop only in name and a burden upon the Church. But the condition imposed was that of tampering with Gospel truths, wilful blindness to oppression and the condonation of tyranny. Public opinion, ill-informed and unused to theological subtleties, would not have observed the change. But it would have been a cowardly declension from the love of Christ to which he could not stoop. He feels (§ 4) the difficulty of the task he undertakes. The devil and the heretics had done their worst, multitudes had been terrified into denial of their convictions. The story was complicated by the ingenuity in evil of the plotters, and evidence was difficult to obtain. The scene of intrigue could not be clearly delineated, crowded as it was with the busy figures of bishops and officers, putting every engine into motion against men of apostolic mind. The energy with which they propagated slander was the measure of its falsehood. They had implanted in the public mind the belief that the exiled bishops had suffered merely for refusing to condemn Athanasius; that they were inspired by obstinacy, not by principle. Out of reverence for the Emperor, whose throne is from God (§ 5), Hilary will not comment upon his usurped jurisdiction over a bishop, nor on the manner in which it was exercised; nor yet on the injustice whereby bishops were forced to pass sentence upon the accused in his absence. In this volume he will give the true causes of trouble, in comparison of which such tyranny, grievous though it be, is of small account. Once before--this, no doubt, was at Béziers--he had spoken his mind upon the matter. But that was a hasty and unprepared utterance, delivered to an audience as eager to silence him as he was to speak. He will, therefore (§ 6), give a full and consecutive narrative of events from the council of Arles onwards, with such an account of the question there debated as will shew the true merits of Paulinus, and make it clear that nothing less than the Faith was at stake. He ends his introduction (§ 7) by warning the reader that this is a work which needs to be seriously studied. The multitude of letters and of synods which he must adduce will merely confuse and disgust him, if he do not bear in mind the dates and the persons, and the exact sense in which terms are used. Finally, he reminds him of the greatness of the subject. This is the knowledge of God, the hope of eternity; it is the duty of a Christian to acquire such knowledge as shall enable him to form and to maintain his own conclusions. The excerpts from the work have evidently been made by some one who was interested in Italy and Illyricum rather than in Gaul, and thought that the documents were more important than the narrative. Hence Hilary's character is as little illustrated as the events of his life. Nor can the date of the work be precisely fixed. It is clear that he had already taken up his final attitude of uncompromising adherence to the Nicene Symbol; that is to say, he began to write after all the waverers had been reclaimed from contact with Arianism. He must, therefore, have written the book in his latest years; and it is manifest that after he had brought the narrative down to the time of his return from exile, he continued to add to it from time to time even till the end of his life. For the last incident recorded in the Fragments, the secession from the party of Valens and Ursacius of an old and important ally, Germinius of Sirmium, must have come to his knowledge very shortly before his death. He had had little success in his warfare with error; if he and his friends had held their own, they had not succeeded either in synod or at court in overthrowing their enemies; and it is pleasant to think that this gleam of comfort came to brighten the last days of Hilary  . The news must have reached Gaul early in the year 367, and no subsequent event of importance can have come to his knowledge.
But though we have reached the term of Hilary's life, there remains one topic on which something must be said, his relation to St. Martin of Tours. Martin, born in Pannonia, the country of Valens and Ursacius, but converted from paganism under Catholic influences, was attracted by Hilary, already a bishop, and spent some years in his society before the outbreak of the Arian strife in Gaul. Hilary, we are told, wished to ordain him a priest, but at his urgent wish refrained, and admitted him instead to the humble rank of an exorcist. At an uncertain date, which cannot have long preceded Hilary's exile, he felt himself moved to return to his native province in order to convert his parents, who were still pagans. He succeeded in the case of his mother and of many of his countrymen. But he was soon compelled to abandon his labours, for he had, as a true disciple of Hilary, regarded it as his duty to oppose the Arianism dominant in the province. Opposition to the bishops on the part of a man holding so low a station in the Church was a civil as well as an ecclesiastical offence, and Martin can have expected no other treatment than that which he received, of scourging and expulsion from the province. Hilary was by this time in exile, and Martin turned to Milan, where the heresy of the intruder Auxentius called forth his protests, which were silenced by another expulsion. He next retired to a small island off the Italian coast, where he lived in seclusion till he heard of Hilary's return. He hastened to Rome, so Fortunatus tells us, to meet his friend, but missed him on the way; and followed him at once to Poitiers. There Hilary gave him a site near the city, on which he founded the first monastery in that region, over which he presided for the rest of Hilary's life and for four years after his death. In the year 371 he was consecrated bishop of Tours, and so continued till his death twenty-five years later. It is clear that Martin was never able to exert any influence over the mind or action of Hilary, whose interests were in an intellectual sphere above his reach. But the courage and tenacity with which Martin held and preached the Faith was certainly inspired to some considerable extent by admiration of Hilary and confidence in his teaching. And the joy which Hilary expresses, as we have seen, in his later Homilies on the Psalms over the rapid spread of Christianity in Gaul, was no doubt occasioned by the earlier triumphs of Martin among the peasantry. The two men were formed each to be the complement of the other. It was the work of Hilary to prove with cogent clearness to educated Christians, that reason as well as piety dictated an acceptance of the Catholic Faith; the mission of Martin was to those who were neither educated nor Christian, and his success in bringing the Faith home to the lives and consciences of the pagan masses marks him out as one of the greatest among the preachers of the Gospel. Both of them actively opposed Arianism, and both suffered in the conflict. But the confessorship of neither had any perceptible share in promoting the final victory of truth. Their true glory is that they were fellow-labourers equally successful in widely separate parts of the same field; and Hilary is entitled, beyond the honour due to his own achievements, to a share in that of St. Martin, whose merits he discovered and fostered.
We have now reached the end of Hilary's life. Sulpicius Severus  tells us that he died in the sixth year from his return. He had probably reached Poitiers early in the year 361; we have seen that the latest event recorded in the fragments of his history must have come to his knowledge early in 367. There is no reason to doubt that this was the conclusion of the history, and no consideration suggests that Sulpicius was wrong in his date. We may therefore assign the death of Hilary, with considerable confidence, to the year 367, and probably to its middle portion. Of the circumstances of his death nothing is recorded. This is one of the many signs that his contemporaries did not value him at his true worth. To them he must have been the busy and somewhat unsuccessful man of affairs; their successors in the next generation turned away from him and his works to the more attractive writings and more commanding characters of Ambrose and Augustine. Yet certainly no firmer purpose or more convinced faith, perhaps no keener intellect has devoted itself to the defence and elucidation of truth than that of Hilary: and it may be that Christian thinkers in the future will find an inspiration of new and fruitful thoughts in his writings.
This desultory mode of composition had its advantages in life and warmth of present interest, and gives to Hilary's writings a value as historical documents which a formal and comprehensive treatise would have lacked. But it seriously increases the difficulty of the present undertaking. It was inevitable that Hilary's method, though he is a singularly consistent thinker, should sometimes lead him into self-contradiction and sometimes leave his meaning in obscurity. In such cases probabilities must be balanced, with due regard to the opinion of former theologians who have studied his writings, and a definite conclusion must be given, though space cannot be found for the considerations upon which it is based. But though the writer may be satisfied that he has, on the whole, fairly represented Hilary's belief, it is impossible that a summary of doctrine can be an adequate reflection of a great teacher's mind. Proportions are altogether changed; a doctrine once stated and then dismissed must be set down on the same scale as another to which the author recurs again and again with obvious interest. The inevitable result is an apparent coldness and stiffness and excess of method which does Hilary an injustice both as a thinker and as a writer. In the interests of orderly sequence not only must he be represented as sometimes more consistent than he really is, but the play of thought, the undeveloped suggestions, often brilliant in their originality, the striking expression given to familiar truths, must all be sacrificed, and with the great part of the pleasure and profit to be derived from his writings. For there are two conclusions which the careful student will certainly reach; the one that every statement and argument will be in hearty and scrupulous consonance with the Creeds, the other that, within this limit, he must not be surprised at any ingenuity or audacity of logic or exegesis in explanation and illustration of recognised truths, and especially in the speculative connection of one truth with another. But the evidence that Hilary's heart, as well as his reason, was engaged in the search and defence of truth must be sought, where it will be abundantly found, in the translations given in this volume. The present chapter only purposes to set out, in a very prosaic manner, the conclusions at which his speculative genius arrived, working as it did by the methods of strict logic in the spirit of eager loyalty to the Faith.
In his effort to render a reason for his belief Hilary's constant appeal is to Scripture; and he avails himself freely of the thoughts of earlier theologians. But he never makes himself their slave; he is not the avowed adherent of any school, and never cites the names of those whose arguments he adopts. These he adjusts to his own system of thought, and presents for acceptance, not on authority, but on their own merits. For Scripture, however, he has an unbounded reverence. Everything that he believes, save the fundamental truth of Theism, of which man has an innate consciousness, being unable to gaze upon the heavens without the conviction that God exists and has His home there  , is directly derived from Holy Scripture. Scripture for Hilary means the Septuagint for the Old Testament, the Latin for the New. He was, as we saw, no Hebrew Scholar, and had small respect either for the versions which competed with the Septuagint or for the Latin rendering of the old Testament, but there is little evidence  that he was dissatisfied with the Latin of the New; in fact, in one instance, whether through habitual contentment with his Latin or through momentary carelessness in verifying the sense, he bases an argument on a thoroughly false interpretation  . Of his relation to Origen and the literary aspects of his exegetical work, something has been said in the former chapter. Here we must speak of his use of Scripture as the source of truth, and of the methods he employs to draw out its meaning.
In Hilary's eyes the two Testaments form one homogeneous revelation, of equal value throughout  , and any part of the whole may be used in explanation of any other part. The same title of beatissimus is given to Daniel and to St. Paul when both are cited in Comm. in Matt. xxv. 3; indeed, he and others of his day seem to have felt that the Saints of the Old Covenant were as near to themselves as those of the New. Not many years had passed since Christians were accustomed to encourage themselves to martyrdom, in default of well-known heroes of their own faith, by the example of Daniel and his companions, or of the Seven Maccabees and their Mother. But Scripture is not only harmonious throughout, as Origen had taught; it is also never otiose. It never repeats itself, and a significance must be sought not only in the smallest differences of language, but also in the order in which apparent synonyms occur  ; in fact, every detail, and every sense in which every detail may be interpreted, is a matter for profitable enquiry  . Hence, the text of Scripture not only bears, but demands, the most strict and literal interpretation. Hilary's explanation of the words, `My soul is sorrowful even unto death,' in Tract. in Ps. cxli. 8 and Trin. x. 36, is a remarkable instance of his method  ; as is the argument from the words of Isaiah, `We esteemed Him stricken,' that this, so far as it signifies an actual sense of pain in Christ, is only an opinion, and a false one  . Similarly the language of St. Paul about the treasures of knowledge hidden in Christ is made to prove His omniscience on earth. Whatever is hidden is present in its hiding-place; therefore Christ could not be ignorant  . But this close adherence to the text of Scripture is combined with great boldness in its interpretation. Hilary does not venture, with Origen, to assert that some passages of Scripture have no literal sense, but he teaches that there are cases when its statements have no meaning in relation to the circumstances in which they were written  , and uses this to enforce the doctrine, which he holds as firmly as Origen, that the spiritual meaning is the only one of serious importance  . All religious truth is contained in Scripture, and it is our duty to be ignorant of what lies outside it  . But within the limits of Scripture the utmost liberty of inference is to be admitted concerning the purpose with which the words were written and the sense to be attached to them. Sometimes, and especially in his later writings, when Hilary was growing more cautious and weaning himself from the influence of Origen, we are warned to be careful, not to read too much of definite dogmatic truth into every passage, to consider the context and occasion  . Elsewhere, but this especially in that somewhat immature and unguarded production, the Commentary on St. Matthew, we find a purpose and meaning, beyond the natural sense, educed by such considerations as that, while all the Gospel is true, its facts are often so stated as to be a prophecy as well as a history; or that part of an event is sometimes suppressed in the narrative in order to make the whole more perfect as a prophecy  . But he can derive a lesson not merely from what Scripture says but also from the discrepancies between the Septuagint as an independent and inspired authority for the revelation of the Old Testament. Its translators are `those seventy elders who had a knowledge of the Law and of the Prophets which transcends the limitations and doubtfulness of the letter  . His confidence in their work, which is not exceeded by that of St. Augustine, encourages him to draw lessons from the differences between the Hebrew and the Septuagint titles of the Psalms. For instance, Psalm cxlii. has been furnished in the Septuagint with a title which attributes it to David when pursued by Absalom. The contents of the Psalm are appropriate neither to the circumstances nor to the date. But this does not justify us in ignoring the title. We must regard the fact that a wrong connection is given to the Psalm as a warning to ourselves not to attempt to discover its historical position, but confine ourselves to its spiritual sense. And this is not all. Another Psalm, the third, is assigned in the Hebrew to the same king in the same distress. But, though this attribution is certainly correct, here also we must follow the leading of the Septuagint, which was led to give a wrong title to one Psalm lest we should attach importance to the correct title of another. In both cases we must fix our attention not on the afflictions of David, but on the sorrows of Christ. Thus, negatively if not positively, the Septuagint must guide our judgement  . But Hilary often goes even further, and ventures upon a purely subjective interpretation, which sometimes gives useful insight into the modes of thought of Gaul in the fourth century. For instance, he is thoroughly classical in taking it for granted that the Psalmist's words, `I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,' cannot refer to the natural feature; that he can never mean the actual mountains bristling with woods, the naked rocks and pathless precipices and frozen snows  . And even Gregory the Great could not surpass the prosaic grotesqueness with which Hilary declares it impious to suppose that God would feed the young ravens, foul carrion birds  ; and that the lilies of the Sermon on the Mount must be explained away, because they wear no clothing, and because, as a matter of fact, it is quite possible for men to be more brightly attired than they  . Examples of such reasoning, more or less extravagant, might be multiplied from Hilary's exegetical writings; passages in which no allowance is made for Oriental imagery, for poetry or for rhetoric  .
But though Hilary throughout his whole period of authorship uses the mystical method of interpretation, never doubting that everywhere in Scripture there is a spiritual meaning which can be elicited, and that whatever sense, consistent with truth otherwise ascertained, can be extracted from it, may be extracted, yet there is a manifest increase in sobriety in his later as compared with his earlier writings. From the riotous profusion of mysticisms in the commentary on St. Matthew, where, for instance, every character and detail in the incident of St. John Baptist's death becomes a symbol, it is a great advance to the almost Athanasian cautiousness in exegesis of the De Trinitate; though even here, especially in the early books which deal with the Old Testament, there is some extravagance and a very liberal employment of the method  . His reasons, when he gives them, are those adduced in his other writings; the inappropriateness of the words to the time when they were written, or the plea that reverence or reason bids us penetrate behind the letter. His increasing caution is due to no distrust of the principle of mysticism.
Though Hilary was not its inventor, and was forced by the large part played by Old Testament exegesis in the Arian controversy to employ it, whether he would or not  , yet it is certain that his hearty, though not indiscriminate  , acceptance of the method led to its general adoption in the West. Tertullian and Cyprian had made no great use of such speculations; Irenæus probably had little influence. It was the introduction of Origen's thought to Latin Christendom by Hilary and his contemporaries which set the fashion, and none of them can have had such influence as Hilary himself. It is a strange irony of fate that so deep and original a thinker should have exerted his most permanent influence not through his own thoughts, but through this dubious legacy which he handed on from Alexandria to Europe. Yet within certain limits, it was a sound and, for that age, even a scientific method; and Hilary might at least plead that he never allowed the system to be his master, and that it was a means which enabled him to derive from Scriptures which otherwise, to him, would be unprofitable, some treasure of true and valuable instruction. It never moulds his thoughts; at the most, he regards it as a useful auxiliary. No praise can be too high for his wise and sober marshalling not so much of texts as of the collective evidence of Scripture concerning the relation of the Father and the Son in the De Trinitate; and if his Christology be not equally convincing, it is not the fault of his method, but of its application  . We cannot wonder that Hilary, who owed his clear dogmatic convictions to a careful and independent study of Scripture, should have wished to lead others to the same source of knowledge. He couples it with the Eucharist as a second Table of the Lord, a public means of grace, which needs, if it is to profit the hearer, the same preparation of a pure heart and life  . Attention to the lessons read in church is a primary duty, but private study of Scripture is enforced with equal earnestness  . It must be for all, as Hilary had found it for himself, a privilege as well as a duty.
His sense of the value of Scripture is heightened by his belief in the sacredness of language. Names belong inseparably to the things which they signify; words are themselves a revelation. This is a lesson learnt from Origen; and the false antithesis between the nature and the name of God, of which, according to the Arians, Christ had the latter only, made it of special use to Hilary  . But if this high dignity belongs to every statement of truth, there is the less need for technical terms of theology. The rarity of their occurrence in the pages of Hilary has already been mentioned. `Trinity'  is almost absent, and `Person'  hardly more common, he prefers, by a turn of language which would scarcely be seemly in English, to speak of the `embodied' Christ and of His `Embodiment,' though Latin theology was already familiar with the `Incarnation  .' In fact, it would seem that he had resolved to make himself independent of technical terms and of such lines of thought as would require them. But he is never guilty of confusion caused by an inadequate vocabulary. He has the literary skill to express in ordinary words ideas which are very remote from ordinary thought, and this at no inordinate length. No one, for instance, has developed the idea of the mutual indwelling of Father and Son more fully and clearly than he; yet he has not found it necessary to employ or devise the monstrous `circuminsession' or `perichoresis' of later theology. And where he does use terms of current theology, or rather metaphysic, he shews that he is their master, not their slave. The most important idea of this kind which he had to express was that of the Divine substance. The word `essence' is entirely rejected  ; `substance' and `nature' are freely used as synonyms, but in such alternation that both of them still obviously belong to the sphere of literature, and not of science. They are twice used as exact alternatives, for the avoidance of monotony, in parallel clauses of Trin. vi. 18, 19. So also the nature of fire in vii. 29 is not an abstraction; and in ix. 36 fin. the Divine substance and nature are equivalents. These are only a few of many instances  . Here, as always, there is an abstention from abstract thoughts and terms, which indicates, on the part of a student of philosophy and of philosophical theology, a deliberate narrowing of his range of speculation. We may illustrate the purpose of Hilary by comparing his method with that of the author of a treatise on Astronomy without Mathematics. But some part of his caution is probably due to his sense of the inadequacy of the terms with which Latin theology was as yet equipped, and of the danger, not only to his readers' faith, but to his own reputation for orthodoxy, which might result from ingenuity in the employment or invention of technical language.
Though, as we have seen, the contemplative state is not the ultimate happiness of man, yet the knowledge of God is essential to salvation  ; man, created in God's image, is by nature capable of, and intended for, such knowledge, and Christ came to impart it, the necessary condition on the side of humanity being purity of mind  , and the result the elevation of man to the life of God. Hilary does not shrink from the emphatic language of the Alexandrian school, which spoke of the `deification' of man; God, he says, was born to be man, in order that man might be born to be God  . If this end is to be attained, obviously what is accepted as knowledge must be true; hence the supreme wickedness of heresy, which destroys the future of mankind by palming upon them error for truth; the greater their dexterity the greater, because the more deliberate, their crime. And Hilary was obviously convinced that his opponents had conceived this nefarious purpose. It is not in the language of mere conventional polemics, but in all sincerity, that he repeatedly describes them as liars who cannot possibly be ignorant of the facts which they misrepresent, inventors of sophistical arguments and falsifiers of the text of Scripture, conscious that their doom is sealed, and endeavouring to divert their minds from the thought of future misery by involving others in their own destruction  . He fully recognises the ability and philosophical learning displayed by them; it only makes their case the worse, and, after all, is merely folly. But it increases the difficulties of the defenders of the Faith. For though man can and must know God, Who, for His part, has revealed Himself, our knowledge ought to consist in a simple acceptance of the precise terms of Scripture. The utmost humility is necessary; error begins when men grow inquisitive. Our capacity for knowledge, as Hilary is never tired of insisting, is so limited that we ought to be content to believe without defining the terms of our belief. For weak as intellect is, language, the instrument which it must employ, is still less adequate to so great a task  . Heresy has insisted upon definition, and the true belief is compelled to follow suit  . Here again, in the heretical abuse of technical terms and of logical processes, we find a reason for the almost ostentatious simplicity of diction which we often find in Hilary's pages. He evidently believed that it was possible for us to apprehend revealed truth and to profit fully by it, without paraphrase or other explanation. In the case of one great doctrine, as we shall see, no necessities of controversy compelled him to develope his belief; if he had had his way, the Faith should never have been stated in ampler terms than `I believe in the Holy Ghost.'
In a great measure he has succeeded in retaining this simplicity in regard to the doctrine of God. He had the full Greek sense of the divine unity; there is no suggestion of the possession by the Persons of the Trinity of contrasted or complementary qualities. The revelation he would defend is that of God, One, perfect, infinite, immutable. This absolute God has manifested Himself under the name `He that is,' to which Hilary constantly recurs. It is only through His own revelation of Himself that God can be known. But here we are faced by a difficulty; our reason is inadequate and tends to be fallacious. The argument from analogy, which we should naturally use, cannot be a sufficient guide, since it must proceed from the finite to the infinite. Hilary has set this forth with great force and frequency, and with a picturesque variety of illustration. Again, our partial glimpses of the truth are often in apparent contradiction; when this is the case, we need to be on our guard against the temptation to reject one as incompatible with the other. We must devote an equal attention to each, and believe without hesitation that both are true. The interest of the De Trinitate is greatly heightened by the skill and courage with which Hilary will handle some seeming paradox, and make the antithesis of opposed infinities conduce to reverence for Him of Whom they are aspects. And he never allows his reader to forget the immensity of his theme; and here again the skill is manifest with which he casts upon the reader the same awe with which he is himself impressed.
Of God as Father Hilary has little that is new to say. He is called Father in Scripture; therefore He is Father and necessarily has a Son. And conversely the fact that Scripture speaks of God the Son is proof of the fatherhood. In fact, the name `Son' contains a revelation so necessary for the times that it has practically banished that of `the Word,' which we should have expected Hilary, as a disciple of Origen, to employ by preference  . But since faith in the Father alone is insufficient for salvation  , and is, indeed, not only insufficient but actually false, because it denies His fatherhood in ignoring the consubstantial Son, Hilary's attention is concentrated upon the relation between these two Persons. This relation is one of eternal mutual indwelling, or `perichoresis,' as it has been called, rendered possible by Their oneness of nature and by the infinity of Both. The thought is worked out from such passages as Isaiah xlv. 14, St. John xiv. 11, with great cogency and completeness, yet always with due stress laid on the incapacity of man to comprehend its immensity. Hilary advances from this scriptural position to the profound conception of the divine self-consciousness as consisting in Their mutual recognition. Each sees Himself in His perfect image, which must be coeternal with Himself. In Hilary this is only a hint, one of the many thoughts which the urgency of the conflict with Arianism forbade him to expand. But Dorner justly sees in it `a kind of speculative construction of the doctrine of the Trinity, out of the idea of the divine self-consciousness  .'
The Arian controversy was chiefly waged over the question of the eternal generation of the Son. By the time that Hilary began to write, every text of Scripture which could be made applicable to the point in dispute had been used to the utmost. There was little or nothing that remained to be done in the discovery or combination of passages. Of that controversy Athanasius was the hero; the arguments which he used and those which he refuted are admirably set forth in the introduction to the translation of his writings in this series. In writing the De Trinitate, so far as it dealt directly with the original controversy, it was neither possible nor desirable that Hilary should leave the beaten path. His object was to provide his readers with a compendious statement of ascertained truth for their own guidance, and with an armoury of weapons which had been tried and found effective in the conflicts of the day. It would, therefore, be superfluous to give in this place a detailed account of his reasonings concerning the generation of the Son, nor would such an account be of any assistance to those who have his writings in their hands. Hilary's treatment of the Scriptural evidence is very complete, as was, indeed, necessary in a work which was intended as a handbook for practical use. The Father alone is unbegotten; the Son is truly the Son, neither created nor adopted. The Son is the Creator of the worlds, the Wisdom of God, Who alone knows the Father, Who manifested God to man in the various Theophanies of the Old Testament. His birth is without parallel, inasmuch as other births imply a previous non-existence, while that of the Son is from eternity. For the generation on the part of the Father and the birth on the part of the Son are not connected as by a temporal sequence of cause and effect, but exactly coincide in a timeless eternity  . Hilary repudiates the possibility of illustrating this divine birth by sensible analogies; it is beyond our understanding as it is beyond time. Nor can we wonder at this, seeing that our own birth is to us an insoluble mystery. The eternal birth of the Son is the expression of the eternal nature of God. It is the nature of the One that He should be Father, of the Other that He should be Son; this nature is co-eternal with Themselves, and therefore the One is co-eternal with the Other. Hence Athanasius had drawn the conclusion that the Son is `by nature and not by will'  ; not that the will of God is contrary to His nature, but that (if the words may be used) there was no scope for its exercise in the generation of the Son, which came to pass as a direct consequence of the Divine nature. Such language was a natural protest against an Arian abuse; but it was a departure from earlier precedent and was not accepted by that Cappadocian school, more true to Alexandrian tradition than Athanasius himself, with which Hilary was in closest sympathy. In their eyes the generation of the Son must be an act of God's will, if the freedom of Omnipotence, for which they were jealous, was to be respected; and Hilary shared their scruples. Not only in the De Synodis but in the De Trinitate  he assigns the birth of the Son to the omnipotence, the counsel and will of God acting in co-operation with His nature. This two-fold cause of birth is peculiar to the Son; all other beings owe their existence simply to the power and will, not to the nature of God  . Such being the relation between Father and Son, it is obvious that They cannot differ in nature. The word `birth,' by which the relation is described, indicates the transmission of nature from parent to offspring; and this word is, like `Father' and `Son,' an essential part of the revelation. The same divine nature or substance exists eternally and in equal perfection in Both, un-begotten in the Father, begotten in the Son. In fact, the expression, `Only-begotten God' may be called Hilary's watchword, with such `peculiar abundance  ' does it occur in his writings, as in those of his Cappadocian friends. But, though the Son is the Image of the Father, Hilary in his maturer thought, when free from the influence of his Asiatic allies, is careful to avoid using the inadequate and perilous term `likeness' to describe the relation  . Such being the birth, and such the unity of nature, the Son must be very God. This is proved by all the usual passages of the Old Testament, from the Creation, onwards. These are used, as by the other Fathers, to prove that the Son has not the name only, but the reality, of Godhead; the reality corresponding to the nature. All things were made through Him out of nothing; therefore He is Almighty as the Father is Almighty. If man is made in the image of Both, if one Spirit belongs to Both, there can be no difference of nature between the Two. But They are not Two as possessing one nature, like human father and son, while living separate lives. God is One, with a Divinity undivided and indivisible  ; and Hilary is never weary of denying the Arian charge that his creed involved the worship of two Gods. No analogies from created things can explain this unity. Tree and branch, fire and heat, source and stream can only illustrate Their inseparable co-existence; such comparisons, if pressed, lead inevitably to error. The true unity of Father and Son is deeper than this; deeper also than any unity, however perfect, of will with will. For it is an eternal mutual indwelling, Each perfectly corresponding with and comprehending and containing the Other, and Himself in the Other; and this not after the manner of earthly commingling of substances or exchange of properties. The only true comparison that can be made is with the union between Christ, in virtue of His humanity, and the believer  ; such is the union, in virtue of the Godhead, between Father and Son. And this unity extends inevitably to will and action, since the Father is acting in all that the Son does, the Son is acting in all that the Father does; `he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.' This doctrine reconciles all our Lord's statements in the Gospel of St. John concerning His own and His Father's work.
But, notwithstanding this unity, there is a true numerical duality of Person. Sabellius, we must remember, had held for two generations the pre-eminence among heretics. To the Greek-speaking world outside Egypt the error which he and Paul of Samosata had taught, that God is one Person, was still the most dangerous of falsehoods; the supreme victory of truth had not been won in their eyes when Arius was condemned at Nicæa, but when Paul was deposed at Antioch. The Nicene leaders had certainly counted the cost when they adopted as the test of orthodoxy the same word which Paul had used for the inculcation of error. But the homoousion, however great its value as a permanent safeguard of truth, was the immediate cause of alienation and suspicion. And not only did it make the East misunderstand the West, but it furnished the Arians with the most effective of instruments for widening the breach between the two forces opposed to them. They had an excuse for calling their opponents in Egypt and the West by the name of Sabellians, the very name most likely to engender distrust in Asia  . Hilary, who could enter with sympathy into the Eastern mind and had learnt from his own treatment at Seleucia how strong the feeling was, labours with untiring patience to dissipate the prejudice. There is no Arian plea against which he argues at greater length. The names `Father' and `Son,' being parts of the revelation, are convincing proofs of distinction of Person as well as of unity of nature. They prove that the nature is the same, but possessed after a different manner by Each of the Two; by the One as ingenerate, by the Other as begotten. The word `Image,' also a part of the revelation, is another proof of the distinction; an object and its reflection in a mirror are obviously not one thing. Again, the distinct existence of the Son is proved by the fact that He has free volition of His own; and by a multitude of passages of Scripture, many of them absolutely convincing, as for instance, those from the Gospel of St John. But these two Persons, though one in nature, are not equal in dignity. The Father is greater than the Son; greater not merely as compared to the incarnate Christ, but as compared to the Son, begotten from eternity. This is not simply by the prerogative inherent in all paternity; it is because the Father is self-existent, Himself the Source of all being  . With one of His happy phrases Hilary describes it as an inferiority generatione, non genere  ; the Son is one in kind or nature with the Father, though inferior, as the Begotten, to the Unbegotten. But this inferiority is not to be so construed as to lessen our belief in His divine attributes. For instance, when He addresses the Father in prayer, this is not because He is subordinate, but because He wishes to honour the Fatherhood  ; and, as Hilary argues at great length  , the end, when God shall be all in all, is not to be regarded as a surrender of the Son's power, in the sense of loss. It is a mysterious final state of permanent, willing submission to the Father's will, into which He enters by the supreme expression of an obedience which has never failed. Again, our Lord's language in St. Mark xiii. 32, must not be taken as signifying ignorance on the part of the Son of His Father's purpose. For, according to St. Paul (Col. ii. 3), in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and therefore He must know the day and hour of judgment. He is ignorant relatively to us, in the sense that He will not betray His Father's secret  . Whether or no it be possible in calmer times to maintain that the knowledge and the ignorance are complementary truths which finite minds cannot reconcile, we cannot wonder that Hilary, ever on the watch against apparent concessions to Arianism, should in this instance have abandoned his usual method of balancing against each other the apparent contraries. His reasoning is, in any case, a striking proof of his intense conviction of the co-equal Godhead of the Son.
Such is Hilary's argument, very briefly stated. We may read almost all of it, where Hilary himself had certainly read it, in the Discourses against the Arians and elsewhere in the writings of Athanasius. How far, however, he was borrowing from the latter must remain doubtful, as must the question as to the originality of Athanasius. For the controversy was universal, and both of these great writers had the practical purpose of collecting the best arguments out of the multitude which were suggested in ephemeral literature or verbal debate. Their victory, intellectual as well as moral, over their adversaries was decisive, and the more striking because it was the Arians who had made the attack on ground chosen by themselves. The authority of Scripture as the final court of appeal was their premise as well as that of their opponents; and they had selected the texts on which the verdict of Scripture was to be based. Out of their own mouth they were condemned, and the work done in the fourth century can never need to be repeated. It was, of course, an unfinished work. As we have seen, Hilary concerns himself with two Persons, not with three; and since he states the contrasted truths of plurality and unity without such explanation of the mystery as the speculative genius of Augustine was to supply, he leaves, in spite of all his efforts, a certain impression of excessive dualism. But these defects do not lessen the permanent value of his work.. Indeed, we may even assert that they, together with some strange speculations and many instances of which interpretation, which are, however, no part of the structure of his argument and could not affect its solidity, actually enhance its human and historical interest. The De Trinitate remains `the most perfect literary achievement called forth by the Arian controversy  .'
Hitherto we have been considering the relations within the Godhead of Father and Son, together with certain characters which belong to the Son in virtue of His eternal birth. We now come to the more original part of Hilary's teaching, which must be treated in greater detail. Till now he has spoken only of the Son; he now comes to speak of Christ, the name which the Son bears in relation to the world. We have seen that Hilary regards the Son as the Creator  . This was proved for him, as for Athanasius, by the passage, Proverbs viii. 22, which they read according to the Septuagint, `The Lord hath' created Me for the beginning of His ways for His Works  .' These words, round which the controversy raged, were interpreted by the orthodox as implying that at the time, and for the purpose, of creation the Father assigned new functions to the Son as His representative. The gift of these functions, the exercise of which called into existence orders of being inferior to God, marked in Hilary's eyes a change so definite and important in the activity of the Son that it deserved to be called a second birth, not ineffable like the eternal birth, but strictly analogous to the Incarnation. This last was a creation, which brought Him within the sphere of created humanity; the creation of Wisdom for the beginning of God's ways had brought Him, though less closely, into the same relation  , and the Incarnation is the completion of what was begun in preparation for the creation of the world. Creation is the mode by which finite being begins, and the beginning of each stage in the connection between the infinite Son and His creatures is called, from the one point of view, a creation, from the other, a birth. We cannot fail to see here an anticipation of the opinion that `the true Protevangelium is the revelation of Creation, or in other words that the Incarnation was independent of the Fall  ,' for the Incarnation is a step in the one continuous divine progress from the Creation to the final consummation of all things, and has not sin for its cause, but is part of the original counsel of God  . Together with this new office the Son receives a new name. Henceforth Hilary calls Him Christ; He is Christ in relation to the world, as He is Son in relation to the Father. From the beginning of time, then, the Son becomes Christ and stands in immediate relation to the world; it is in and through Christ that God is the Author of all things  , and the title of Creator strictly belongs to the Son. This beginning of time, we must remember, is hidden in no remote antiquity. The world had no mysterious past; it came into existence suddenly at a date which could be fixed with much precision, some 5,600 years before Hilary's day  , and had undergone no change since then. Before that date there had been nothing outside the Godhead; from that time forth the Son has stood in constant relation to the created world.
Christ, for so we must henceforth call Him, has not only sustained in being the universe which He created, but has also imparted to men a steadily increasing knowledge of God. For such knowledge, we remember, man was made, and his salvation depends upon its possession. All the Theophanies of the Old Testament are such revelations by Him of Himself; and it was He that spoke by the mouth of Moses and the Prophets. But however significant and valuable this Divine teaching and manifestation might be, it was not complete in itself, but was designed to prepare men's minds to expect its fulfilment in the Incarnation. Just as the Law was preliminary to the Gospel, so the appearances of Christ in human form to Abraham and to others were a foreshadowing of the true humanity which He was to assume. They were true revelations, as far as they went; but their purpose was not simply to impart so much knowledge as they explicitly conveyed, but also to lead men on to expect more, and to expect it in the very form in which it ultimately came  . For His self-revelation in the Incarnation was but the treading again of a familiar path. He had often appeared, and had often spoken, by His own mouth or by that of men whom He had inspired; and in all this contact with the world His one object had been to bestow upon mankind the knowledge of God. With the same object He became incarnate; the full revelation was to impart the perfect knowledge. He became man, Hilary says, in order that we might believe Him;--`to be a Witness from among us to the things of God, and by means of weak flesh to proclaim God the Father to our weak and carnal selves  .' Here again we see the continuity of the Divine purpose, the fulfilment of the counsel which dates back to the beginning of time. If man had not sinned, he would still have needed the progressive revelation; sin has certainly modified Christ's course upon earth, but was not the determining cause of the Incarnation.
The doctrine of the Incarnation, or Embodiment as Hilary prefers to call it, is presented very fully in the De Trinitate, and with much originality. The Godhead of Christ is secured by His identity with the eternal Son and by the fact that at the very time of His humiliation upon earth He was continuing without interruption His divine work of maintaining the existence of the worlds  . Indeed, by a natural protest against the degradation which the Arians would put upon Him, it is the glory of Christ upon which Hilary lays chief stress. And this is not the moral glory of submission and self-sacrifice, but the visible glory of miracles attesting the Divine presence. In the third book of the De Trinitate the miracles of Cana and of the feeding of the five thousand, the entrance into the closed room where the disciples were assembled, the darkness and the earthquake at the Crucifixion, are the proofs urged for His Godhead; and the wonderful circumstances surrounding the birth at Bethlehem are similarly employed in book ii.  Sound as the reasoning is, it is typical of a certain unwillingness on Hilary's part to dwell upon the self-surrender of Christ; he prefers to think of Him rather as the Revealer of God than as the Redeemer of men. But, apart from this preference, he constantly insists that the Incarnation has caused neither loss nor change of the Divine nature in Christ  , and proves the point by the same words of our Lord which had been used to demonstrate the eternal Sonship. And the assumption of flesh lessens His power as little as it degrades His nature. For though it is, in one aspect, an act of submission to the will of the Father, it is, in another, an exertion of His own omnipotence. No inferior power could appropriate to itself an alien nature; only God could strip Himself of the attributes of Godhead  .
But the incarnate Christ is as truly man as He is truly God. We have seen that He is `created in the body'; and Hilary constantly insists that His humanity is neither fictitious nor different in kind from ours  . We must therefore consider what is the constitution of man. He is, so Hilary teaches, a physically composite being; the elements of which his body is composed are themselves lifeless, and man himself is never fully alive  . According to this physiology, the father is the author of the child's body, the maternal function being altogether subsidiary. It would seem that the mother does nothing more than protect the embryo, so giving it the opportunity of growth, and finally bring the child to birth  . And each human soul is separately created, like the universe, out of nothing. Only the body is engendered; the soul, wherein the likeness of man to God consists, has a nobler origin, being the immediate creation of God  . Hilary does not hold, or at least does not attach importance to, the tripartite division of man; for the purposes of his philosophy we consist of soul and body. We may now proceed to consider his theory of the Incarnation. This is based upon the Pauline conception of the first and second Adam. Each of these was created, and the two acts of creation exactly correspond. Christ, the Creator, made clay into the first Adam, who therefore had an earthly body. He made Himself into the second Adam, and therefore has a heavenly Body. To this end He descended from heaven and entered into the Virgin's womb. For, in accordance with Hilary's principle of interpretation  , the word `Spirit' must not be regarded as necessarily signifying the Holy Ghost, but one or other of the Persons of the Trinity as the context may require; and in this case it means the Son, since the question is of an act of creation, and He, and none other, is the Creator. Also, correspondence between the two Adams would be as effectually broken were the Holy Ghost the Agent in the conception, as it would be were Christ's body engendered and not created. Thus He is Himself not only the Author but (if the word may be used) the material of His own body  ; the language of St. John, that the Word became flesh, must be taken literally. It would be insufficient to say that the Word took, or united Himself to, the flesh  . But this creation of the Second Adam to be true man is not our only evidence of His humanity. We have seen that in Hilary's judgment the mother has but a secondary share in her offspring. That share, whatever it be, belongs to the Virgin; she contributed to His growth and to His coming to birth `everything which it is the nature of her sex to impart  .' But though Christ is constantly said to have been born of the Virgin, He is habitually called the `Son of Man,' not the Son of the Virgin, nor she the Mother of God. Such language would attribute to her an activity and an importance inconsistent with Hilary's theory. For no portion of her substance, he distinctly says, was taken into the substance of her Son's human body  ; and elsewhere he argues that St. Paul's words `made of a woman' are deliberately chosen to describe Christ's birth as a creation free from any commingling with existing humanity  . But the Virgin has an essential share in the fulfilment of prophecy. For though Christ without her co-operation could have created Himself as Man, yet He would not have been, as He was fore-ordained to be, the Son of Man  . And since He holds that the Virgin performs every function of a mother, Hilary avoids that Valentinian heresy according to which Christ passed through the Virgin `like water through a pipe  ,' for He was Himself the Author of a true act of creation within her, and, when she had fulfilled her office, was born as true flesh. Again, Hilary's clear sense of the eternal personal pre-existence of the Word saves him from any contact with the Monarchianism combated by Hippolytus and Tertullian, which held that the Son was the Father under another aspect. Indeed, so secure does he feel himself that he can venture to employ Monarchian theories, now rendered harmless, in explanation of the mysteries of the Incarnation. For we cannot fail to see a connection between his opinions and theirs; and it might seem that, confident in his wider knowledge, he has borrowed not only from the arguments used by Tertullian against the Monarchian Praxeas, but also from those which Tertullian assigns to the latter. Such reasonings, we know, had been very prevalent in the West; and Hilary's use of certain of them, in order to turn their edge by showing that they were not inconsistent with the fundamental doctrines of the Faith  , may indicate that Monarchianism was still a real danger.
Thus the Son becomes flesh, and that by true maternity on the Virgin's part. But man is more than flesh; he is soul as well, and it is the soul which makes him man instead of matter. The soul, as we saw, is created by a special act of God at the beginning of the separate existence of each human being; and Christ, to be true man and not merely true flesh, created for Himself the human soul which was necessary for true humanity. He had borrowed from the Apollinarians, consciously no doubt, their interpretation of one of their favourite passages, `The Word became flesh'; here again we find an argument of heretics rendered harmless and adopted by orthodoxy. For the strange Apollinarian denial to Christ of a human soul, and therefore of perfect manhood, is not only expressly contradicted  , but repudiated on every page by the contrary assumption on which all Hilary's arguments are based. Christ, then, is `perfect man  , of a reasonable soul and Human flesh subsisting,' for Whom the Virgin has performed the normal functions of maternity. But there is one wide and obvious difference between Hilary's mode of handling the matter and that with which we are familiar. His view concerning the mother's office forbids his laying stress upon our Lord's inheritance from her. Occasionally, and without emphasis, he mentions our Lord as the Son of David, or otherwise introduces His human ancestry  , but he never dwells upon the subject. He neither bases upon this ancestry the truth, nor deduces from it the character, of Christ's humanity. Such is Hilary's account of the facts of the Incarnation. In his teaching there is no doubt error as well as defect, but only in the mode of explanation, not in the doctrine explained. It will help us to do him justice if we may compare the theories that have been framed concerning another great doctrine, that of the Atonement, and remember that the strangely diverse speculations of Gregory the Great and of St. Anselm profess to account for the same facts, and that, so far as definitions of the Church are concerned, we are free to accept one or other, or neither, of the rival explanations.
Christ, then, Who had been perfect God from eternity, became perfect Man by His self-wrought act of creation. Thus there was an approximation between God and man; man was raised by God, Who humbled Himself to meet Him. On the one hand the Virgin was sanctified in preparation for her sacred motherhood  ; on the other hand there was a condescension of the Son to our low estate. The key to this is found by Hilary in the language of St. Paul. Christ emptied Himself of the form of God and took the form of a servant; this is a revelation as decisive as the same Apostle's words concerning the first and the second Adam. The form of God, wherein the Son is to the Father as the exact image reflected in a mirror, the exact impression taken from a seal, belongs to Christ's very being. He could not detach it from Himself, if He would, for it is the property of God to be eternally what He is; and, as Hilary constantly reminds us, the continuous existence of creation is evidence that there had been no break in the Son's divine activity in maintaining the universe which He had made. While He was in the cradle He upheld the worlds  . Yet, in some real sense, Christ emptied Himself of this form of God  . It was necessary that He should do so if manhood, even the sinless manhood created by Himself for His own Incarnation, was to co-exist with Godhead in His one Person  . This is stated as distinctly as is the correlative fact that He retained and exercised the powers and the majesty of His nature. Thus it is clear that, outside the sphere of His work for men, the form and the nature of God remained unchanged in the Son; while within that sphere the form, though not the nature, was so affected that it could truly be said to be laid aside. But when we come to Hilary's explanation of this process, we can only acquit him of inconsistency in thought by admitting the ambiguity of his language. In one group of passages he recognises the self-emptying, but minimises its importance; in another he denies that our Lord could or did empty Himself of the form of God. And again, his definitions of the word `form' are so various as to be actually contradictory. Yet a consistent sense, and one exceedingly characteristic of Hilary, can be derived from a comparison of his statements  ; and in judging him we must remember that we have no systematic exposition of his views, but must gather them not only from his deliberate reasonings, but sometimes from homiletical amplifications of Scripture language, composed for edification and without the thought of theological balance, and sometimes from incidental sayings, thrown out in the course of other lines of argument. To the minimising statements belongs his description of the evacuation as a `change of apparel  ,' and his definition of the word `form' as meaning no more than `face' or `appearance  ,'as also his insistence from time to time upon the permanence of this form in Christ, not merely in His supramundane relations, but as the Son of Man  . On the other hand Hilary expressly declares that the `concurrence of the two forms  ' is impossible, they being mutually exclusive. This represents the higher form, that of God, as something more than a dress or appearance which could be changed or masked; and stronger still is the language used in the Homily on Psalm xviii. There (§ 4) he speaks of Christ being exhausted of His heavenly nature, this being used as a synonym for the form of God, and even of His being emptied of His substance. But it is probable that the Homily has descended to us, without revision by its author, in the very words which the shorthand writer took down. This mention of `substance' is unlike Hilary's usual language, and the antithesis between the substance which the Son had not, because He had emptied Himself of it, and the substance which He had, because He had assumed it, is somewhat infelicitously expressed. The term must certainly not be taken as the deliberate statement of Hilary's final opinion, still less as the decisive passage to which his other assertions must be accommodated; but it is at least clear evidence that Hilary, in the maturity of his thought, was not afraid to state in the strongest possible language the reality and completeness of the evacuation. The reconciliation of these apparently contradictory views concerning Christ's relation to the form of God can only be found in Hilary's idea of the Incarnation as a `dispensation,' or series of dispensations. The word and the thought are borrowed through Tertullian  from the Greek `economy'; but in Hilary's mind the notion of Divine reserve has grown till it has become, we might almost say, the dominant element of the conception. This self-emptying is a dispensation  , whereby the incarnate Son of God appears to be, what He is not, destitute of the form of God. For this form is the glory of God, concealed by our Lord for the purposes of His human life, yet held by Hilary, to a greater extent, perhaps, than by any other theologian, to have been present with Him on earth. In words which have a wider application, and must be considered hereafter, Hilary speaks of Christ as `emptying Himself and hiding Himself within Himself  .' Concealment has a great part to play in Hilary's theories, and is in this instance the only explanation consistent with his doctrinal position  .
Thus the Son made possible the union of humanity with Himself. He `shrank from God into man  ' by an act not only of Divine power, but of personal Divine will. He Who did this thing could not cease to be what He had been before; hence His very deed in submitting Himself to the change is evidence of His unchanged continuity of existence  . And furthermore, His assumption of the servant's form was not accomplished by a single act. His wearing of that form was one continuous act of voluntary self-repression  , and the events of His life on earth bear frequent witness to His possession of the powers of God.
Thus in Him God is united with man; these two natures form the `elements' or `parts' of one Person  . The Godhead is superposed upon the manhood; or, as Hilary prefers to say, the manhood is assumed by Christ  . And these two natures are not confused  , but simultaneously coexist in Him as the Son of Man  . There are not two Christs  , nor is the one Christ a composite Being in such a sense that He is intermediate in kind between God and Man. He can speak as God and can also speak as Man; in the Homilies on the Psalms Hilary constantly distinguishes between His utterances in the one and the other nature. Yet He is one Person with two natures, of which the one dominates, though it does not extinguish, the other in every relation of His existence as the Son of Man  . Every act, bodily or mental, done by Him is done by both natures of the one Christ. Hence a certain indifference towards the human aspects of His life, and a tendency rather to explain away what seems humiliation than to draw out its lessons  . And Hilary is so impressed with the unity of Christ that the humanity, a notion for which he has no name  , would have been in his eyes nothing more than a collective term for certain attributes of One Who is more than man, just as the body of Christ is not for him a dwelling occupied, or an instrument used, by God, but an inseparable property of Christ, Who personally is God and Man.
Hence the body of Christ has a character peculiar to itself. It is a heavenly body  , because of its origin and because of its Owner, the Son of Man Who came down from heaven, and though on earth was in heaven still  . It performs the functions and experiences, the limitations of a human body, and this is evidence that it is in every sense a true, not an alien or fictitious body. Though it is free from the sins of humanity, it has our weaknesses. But here the distinction must be made, which will presently be discussed, between the two kinds of suffering, that which feels and that which only endures. Christ was not conscious of suffering from these weaknesses, which could inflict no sense of want of weariness or pain upon His body, a body not the less real because it was perfect. He took our infirmities as truly as He bore our sins. But He was no more under the dominion of the one than of the other  . His body was in the likeness of ours, but its reality did not consist in the likeness  , but in the fact that He had created it a true body. Christ, by virtue of His creative power, might have made for Himself a true body, by means of which to fulfil God's purposes, that should have been free from these infirmities. It was for our sake that He did not. There would have been a true body, but it would have been difficult for us to believe it. Hence He assumed one which had for habits what are necessities to us, in order to demonstrate to us its reality  . It was foreordained that He should be incarnate; the mode of the Incarnation was determined by considerations of our advantage. The arguments by which this thesis is supported will be stated presently, in connection with Hilary's account of the Passion. It would be difficult to decide whether he has constructed his theory concerning the human activities of our Lord upon the basis of this preponderance of the Divine nature in His incarnate personality, or whether he has argued back from what he deems the true account of Christ's mode of life on earth, and invented the hypothesis in explanation of it. In any case he has had the courage exactly to reverse the general belief of Christendom regarding the powers normally used by Christ. We are accustomed to think that with rare exceptions, such as the Transfiguration, He lived a life limited by the ordinary conditions of humanity, to draw lessons for ourselves from His bearing in circumstances like our own, to estimate His condescension and suffering, in kind if not in degree, by our own consciousness. Hilary regards the normal state of the incarnate Christ as that of exaltation, from which He stooped on rare occasions, by a special act of will, to self-humiliation. Thus the Incarnation, though itself a declension from the pristine glory, does not account for the facts of Christ's life; they must be explained by further isolated and temporary declensions. And since the Incarnation is the one great event, knowledge and faith concerning which are essential, the events which accompany or result from it tend, in Hilary's thought, to shrink in importance. They can and must be minimised, explained away, regarded as `dispensations,' if they seem to derogate from the Majesty of Him Who was incarnate.
When we examine the interpretation of Scripture by which Hilary reaches the desired conclusions we find it, in many instances, strange indeed. The letter of the Gospels tells us of bodily needs and of suffering; Christ, though more than man, is proved to be Man by His obvious submission to the conditions of human life. But according to Hilary all human suffering is due to the union of an imperfect soul with an imperfect body. The soul of Christ, though truly human, was perfect; His body was that of a Person Divine as well as human. Thus both elements were perfect of their kind, and therefore as free from infirmity  as from sin, for affliction is the lot of man not because he is man, but because he is a sinner. In contrast with the squalor of sinful humanity, glory surrounded Christ from the Annunciation onward throughout His course on earth  . Miracle is the attestation of His Godhead, and He who was thus superior to the powers of nature could not be subject to the sufferings which nature inflicts. But, being omnipotent, He could subject Himself to humiliations which no power less than His own could lay upon Him, and this self-subjection is the supreme evidence of His might as well of His goodwill towards men. God, and only God, could occupy at once the cradle and the throne on high  . Thus in emphasizing the humiliation Hilary is extolling the majesty of Christ, and refuting the errors of Arianism. That school had made the most of Christ's sufferings, holding them as proof of His inferiority to the Father. In Hilary's eyes His power to condescend and His final victory are equally conclusive evidences of His co-equal Divinity. But if He stoops to our estate, and is at the same time God exercising His full prerogatives, here again there must be a `dispensation.' He was truly subject to the limitations of our nature; that is a fact of revelation. But He was subject by a succession of detached acts of self-restraint, culminating in the act, voluntary like the others, of His death  . Of His acceptance of the ordinary infirmities of humanity we have already spoken. Hilary gives the same explanation of the Passion as he does of the thirst or weariness of Christ. That He could suffer, and that to the utmost, is proved by the fact that He did suffer; yet was He, or could He be, conscious of suffering? For the fulfilment of the Divine purpose, for our assurance of the reality of His work, the acts had to be done; but it was sufficient that they should be done by a dispensation, in other words, that the events should be real and yet the feelings be absent of which, had the events happened to us, we should have been conscious. To understand this we must recur to Hilary's theory of the relation of the soul to the body. The former is the organ of sense, the latter a lifeless thing. But the soul may fall below, or rise above, its normal state. Mortification of the body may set in, or drugs be administered which shall render the soul incapable of feeling the keenest pain  . On the other hand it is capable of a spiritual elevation which shall make it unconscious of bodily needs or sufferings, as when Moses and Elijah fasted, or the three Jewish youths walked amid the flames  . On this high level Christ always dwelt. Others might rise for a moment above themselves; He, not although, but because He was true and perfect Man, never fell below it. He placed Himself in circumstances where shame and wounds and death were inflicted upon Him; He had lived a life of humiliation, not only real, in that it involved a certain separation from God, but also apparent. But as in this latter respect we may no more overlook His glory than we may suppose Him ignorant, as by a dispensation He professed to be  , so in regard to the Passion we must not imagine that He was inferior to His saints in being conscious, as they were not, of suffering  . So far, indeed, is He from the sense of suffering that Hilary even says that the Passion was a delight to Him  , and this not merely in its prospective results, but in the consciousness of power which He enjoyed in passing through it. Nor could this be surprising to one who looked with Hilary's eyes upon the humanity of Christ. He enforces his view sometimes with rhetoric, as when he repudiates the notion that the Bread of Life could hunger, and He who gives the living water, thirst  , that the hand which restored the servant's ear could itself feel pain  , that He Who said, `Now is the Son of Man glorified,' when Judas left the chamber, could at that moment be feeling sorrow  , and He before Whom the soldiers fell be capable of fear  , or shrink from the pain of a death which was itself an exertion of His own free will and power  . Or else he dwells upon the general character of Christ's manhood. He recognises no change in the mode of being after the Resurrection; the passing through closed doors, the sudden disappearance at Emmaus are typical of the normal properties of His body, which could heal the sick by a touch, and could walk upon the waves  . It is a body upon the sensibility of which the forces of nature can make no impression whatever; they can no more pain Him than the stroke of a weapon can affect air or water  ; or, as Hilary puts it elsewhere, fear and death, which have so painful a meaning to us, were no more to Him than a shower falling upon a surface which it cannot penetrate  . It is not the passages of the Gospel which tell of Christ's glory, but those which speak of weakness or suffering that need to be explained; and Hilary on occasion is not afraid to explain them away. For instance, we read that when our Lord had fasted forty days and forty nights `He was afterward an hungred.' Hilary denies that there is a connection of cause and effect. Christ's perfect body was unaffected by abstinence; but after the fast by an exertion of His will He experienced hunger  . So also the Agony in the Garden is ingeniously misinterpreted. He took with Him the three Apostles, and then began to be sorrowful. He was not sorrowful till He had taken them; they, not He, were the cause. When He said, `My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,' the last words must not be regarded as meaning that His was a mortal sorrow, but as giving a note of time. The sorrow of which He spoke was not for Himself but for His Apostles, whose flight He foresaw, and He was asserting that this sorrow would last till He died. And when He prayed that the cup might pass away from Him, this was no entreaty that He might be spared. It was His purpose to drink it. The prayer was for His disciples that the cup might pass on from Him to them; that they might suffer for Him as martyrs full of hope, without pain or fear  . One passage, St. Luke xxii. 43, 44, which conflicts with his view is rejected by Hilary on textual grounds, and not without some reason  . He had looked for it, and found it absent, in a large number of manuscripts, both Greek and Latin. But perhaps the strangest argument which he employs is that when the Gospel tells us that Christ thirsted and hungered and wept, it does not proceed to say that He ate and drank and felt grief  . Hunger and thirst, eating and drinking, were two sets of dispensations, unconnected by the relation of cause and effect; the tears were another dispensation, not the expression of personal grief. If, as a habit, He accepts the needs and functions of our body, this does not render His own body more real, for by the act of its creation it was made truly human; His purpose, as has been said, is to enable us to recognise its reality, which would otherwise be difficult  . If He wept, He had the same object; this use of one of the evidences of bodily emotion would help us to believe  . And so it is throughout Christ's life on earth. He suffered but He did not feel. No one but a heretic, says Hilary, would suppose that He was pained by the nails which fixed Him to the Cross  .
It is obvious that Hilary's theory offers a perfect defence against the two dangers of the day, Arianism and Apollinarianism. The tables are turned upon the former by emphatic insistence upon the power manifested in the humiliation and suffering of Christ. That He, being what He was, should be able to place Himself in such circumstances was the most impressive evidence of His Divinity. And if His humanity was endowed with Divine properties, much more must His Divinity rise above that inferiority to which the Arians consigned it. Apollinarianism is controverted by the demonstration of His true humanity. No language can be too strong to describe its glories; but the true wonder is not that Christ, as God, has such attributes, but that He Who has them is very Man. The theory was well adapted for service in the controversies of the day; for us, however we may admire the courage and ingenuity it displays, it can be no more than a curiosity of doctrinal history. Yet, whatever its defects as an explanation of the facts, the skill with which dangers on either hand are avoided, the manifest anxiety to be loyal to established doctrine, deserve recognition and respect. It has been said that Hilary `constantly withdraws in the second clause what he has asserted in the first  ,' and in a sense it is true. For many of his statements might make him seem the advocate of an extreme doctrine of Kenosis, which would represent our Lord's self-emptying as complete. But often expressed and always present in Hilary's thought, for the coherence of which it is necessary, is the correlative notion of the dispensation, whereby Christ seemed for our sake to be less than He truly was. Again, Hilary has been accused of `sailing somewhat close to the cliffs of Docetism  ,' but all admit that he has escaped shipwreck. Various accounts of his teaching, all of which agree in acquitting him of this error, have been given; and that which has been accepted in this paper, of Christ by the very perfection of His humanity habitually living in such an ecstasy as that of Polycarp or Perpetua at their martyrdom, is a noble conception in itself and consistent with the Creeds, though it cannot satisfy us. In part, at any rate, it belonged to the lessons which Hilary had learned from Alexandria. Clement had taught, though his successor Origen rejected, the impassability of Christ, Who had eaten and drunk only by a `dispensation';--`He ate not for the sake of His body, which was sustained by a holy power, but that that false notion might not creep into the minds of His companions which in later days some have, in fact, conceived, that He had been manifested only in appearance. He was altogether impassible; there entered from without into Him no movement of the feelings, whether pleasure , or pain  .' Thus Hilary had what would be in his eyes high authority for his opinion. But he must have felt some doubts of its value if he compared the strange exegesis and forced logic by which it was supported with that frank acceptance of the obvious sense of Scripture in which he takes so reasonable a pride in His direct controversy with the Arians. And another criticism may be ventured. In that controversy he balances with scrupulous reverence mystery against mystery, never forgetting that he is dealing with infinities. In this case the one is made to overwhelm the other; the infinite glory excludes the infinite sorrow from his view. Here, if anywhere, Hilary needs, and may justly claim, the indulgence he has demanded. It had not been his wish to define or explain; he was content with the plain words of Scripture and the simplest of creeds. But he was compelled by the fault of others to commit a fault  ; and speculation based on sound principles, however perilous to him who made the first attempt, had been rendered by the prevalence of heresy a necessary evil. Again, we must bear in mind that Hilary was essentially a Greek theologian, to whom the supremely interesting as well as the supremely important doctrine was that God became Man. He does not conceal or undervalue the fact of the Atonement and of the Passion as the means by which it was wrought. But, even though he had not held his peculiar theory of impassibility, he would still have thought the effort most worth making not that of realising the pains of Christ by our experience of suffering and sense of the enormity of sin, but that of apprehending the mystery of the Incarnation. For that act of condescension was greater, not only in scale but in kind, than any humiliation to which Christ, already Man, submitted Himself in His human state.
Christ, Whose properties as incarnate are thus described by Hilary, is one Person. This, of course, needs no proof, but something must be said of the use which he makes of the doctrine. It is by Christ's own work, by an act of power, even of violence  , exercised by Him upon Himself, that the two natures are inseparably associated in Him; so inseparably that between His death and resurrection His Divinity was simultaneously present with each of the severed elements of His humanity  . Hence, though Hilary frequently discriminates between Christ's utterances as God and as Man  , he never fails to keep his reader's attention fixed upon the unity of His Person. And this unity is the more obvious because, as has been said, the Manhood in Christ is dominated by the Godhead. Though we are not allowed to forget that He is truly Man, yet as a rule Hilary prefers to speak in such words as, `the only-begotten Son of God was crucified  ,' or to say more briefly, `God was crucified  .' Judas is `the betrayer of God  ;' `the life of mortals is renewed through the death of immortal God  .' Such expressions are far more frequent than the balanced language, `the Passion of Jesus Christ, our God and Lord  ,' and these again than such an exaltation of the manhood as `the Man Jesus Christ, the Lord of Majesty  .' But once, in an unguarded moment, an element of His humanity seems to be deified. Hilary never says that Christ's body is God, but he speaks of the spectators of the Crucifixion `contemplating the power of the soul which by signs and deeds had proved itself God  .'
But though distinctions may be drawn, and though for the sake of emphasis and brevity Christ may be called by the name of one only of His two natures, the essential fact is never forgotten that He is God and man, one Person in two forms, God's and the servant's. And these two natures do not stand isolated and apart, merely contained within the limits of one personality. Just as we saw that Hilary recognises a complete mutual indwelling and interpenetration of Father and Son, so he teaches that in the narrower sphere of the Incarnation there is an equally exact and comprehensive union of the Godhead and Manhood in Christ. Jesus is Christ, and Christ is Jesus  . Not merely is the one Christ perfect Man and perfect God, but the whole Son of Man is the whole Son of God  . So far is His manhood from being merged and lost in His Divinity, that the extent of the one is the measure of the other. We must not imagine that, simultaneously with the incarnate, there existed a non-incarnate Christ, respectively submitting to humiliation and ruling the worlds; nor yet must we conceive of one Christ in two unconnected states of being, as though the assumption of humanity were merely a function analogous to the guiding of the stars. On the contrary, the one Person is co-extensive with all infinity, and all action lies within His scope. Whatever He does, whether it be, or be not, in relation to humanity, and in the former case whether it be the exaltation of man-hood or the self-emptying of Godhead, is done `within the sphere of the Incarnation  ,' the sphere which embraces His whole being and His whole action. The self-emptying itself was not a self-determination, instant and complete, made before the Incarnation, but, as we saw, a process which continued throughout Christ's life on earth and was active to the end. For as He hung, deliberately self-emptied of His glory, on the Cross, He manifested His normal powers by the earthquake shock. His submission to death was the last of a consistent series of exertions of His will, which began with the Annunciation and culminated in the Crucifixion.
Hilary estimates the cost of the Incarnation not by any episodes of Christ's life on earth, but by the fact that it brought about a real, though partial, separation or breach  within the Godhead. Henceforward there was in Christ the nature of the creature as well as that of the Creator; and this second nature, though it had been assumed in its most perfect form, was sundered by an infinite distance from God the Father, though indissolubly united with the Divinity of his Son. A barrier therefore was raised between them, to be overcome in due time by the elevation of manhood in and through the Son. When this elevation was complete within the Person of Christ, then the separation between Him and His Father would be at an end. He would still have true humanity, but this humanity would be raised to the level of association with the Father. In Hilary's doctrine the submission of Christ to this isolation is the central fact of Christianity, the supreme evidence of His love for men. Not only did it thus isolate Him, truly though partially, from the Father, but it introduced a strain, a `division'  within His now incarnate Person. The union of natures was real, but in order that it might become perfect the two needed to be adjusted; and the humiliation involved in this adjustment is a great part of the sacrifice made by Christ. There was conflict, in a certain sense, within Himself, repression and concealment of His powers. But finally the barrier was to be removed, the loss regained, by the exaltation of the manhood into harmonious association with the Godhead of Father and of Son  . Then He Who had become in one Person God and Man would become for ever fully God and fully Man. The humanity would gain, the Divinity regain, its appropriate dignity  , while each retained the reality it had had on earth.
Thus Christ's life in the world was a period of transition. He had descended; this was the time of preparation for an equal, and even loftier, ascent. We must now consider in what the preparation consisted; and here, at first sight, Hilary has involved himself in a grave difficulty. For it is manifest that his theory of Christ's life as one lived without effort, spiritual or physical, or rather as a life whose exertion consisted in a steady self accommodation to the infirmities of men, varied by occasional and special acts of condescension to suffering, excludes the possibility of an advance, a growth in grace as well as in stature, such as Athanasius scripturally taught  . We might say of Hilary, as has been said of another Father, `under his treatment the Divine history seems to be dissolved into a docetic drama  .' In such a life it might seem that there was not merely no possibility of progress, but even an absence of identity, in the sense of continuity. The phenomena of Christ's life, therefore, are not manifestations of the disturbance and strain on which Hilary insists, for they are, when, rightly considered, proofs of His union with God and of His Divine power, not of weakness or of partial separation. It would, indeed, be vain for us to seek for sensible evidence of the process of adjustment, for it went on within the inmost being of the one Person. It did not affect the Godhead or the Manhood, both visibly revealed as aspects of the Person, but the hidden relation between the two. Our knowledge assures us that the process took place, but it is a knowledge attained by inference from what He was before and after the state of transition, not by observation of His action in that state. Both natures of the one Person were affected; `everything'--glory as well as humiliation--`was common to the entire Person at every moment, though to each aspect in its own distinctive manner.' The entire Person entered into inequality with Himself; the actuality of each aspect, during the state of humiliation, fell short of its idea--of the idea of the Son, of the idea of the perfect man, of the idea of the God-man. It was not merely the human aspect that was at first inadequate to the Divine; for, through the medium of the voluntary `evacuatio,' it dragged down the Divine nature also, so far as is permitted it, to its own inequality  .' Such is the only explanation which will reconcile Hilary's various, and sometimes obscure, utterances on this great subject. It is open to the obvious and fatal objection that it cuts, instead of loosening, the knot. For it denies any connection between the dispensation of Christ's life on earth and the mystery of His assumption and exaltation of humanity; the one becomes somewhat purposeless, and the other remains unverified. But it is at least a bold and reverent speculation, not inconsistent with the Faith as a system of thought, though no place can be found for it in the Faith, regarded as a revelation of fact.
It was on behalf of mankind that this great sacrifice was made by the Son. While it separated Him from the Father, it united Him to men. We must now consider what was the spiritual constitution of the humanity which He assumed, as we have already considered the physical Man, as we saw (p. lxix.) is constituted of body and soul, an outward and an inward substance, the one earthly, the other heavenly  . The exact process of his creation has been revealed. First, man--that is, his soul--was made in the image of God; next, long afterwards, his body was fashioned out of dust; finally by a distinct act, man was made a living soul by the breath of God, the heavenly and earthly natures being thus coupled together  . The world was already complete when God created the highest, the most beautiful of His works after His own image. His other works were made by an instantaneous command; even the firmament was established by his hand  ; man alone was made by the hands of God;--`Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.' This singular honour of being made by a process, not an act, and by the hands, not the hand or the voice, of God, was paid to man not simply as the highest of the creatures, but as the one for whose sake the rest of the universe was called into being  . It is, of course, the soul, made after the image of God, which has this high honour; an honour which no length of sinful ancestry can forfeit, for each soul is still separately created. Hence no human soul is akin to any other human soul; the uniformity of type is secured by each being made in the same pattern, and the dignity of humanity by the fact that this pattern is that of the Son, the Image of God. But the soul pervades the whole body with which it is associated, even as God pervades the universe  . The soul of each man is individual, special to himself; his brotherhood with mankind belongs to him through his body, which has therefore something of universality. Hence the relation of mankind with Christ is not through his human soul; it was `the nature of universal flesh' which He took  that has made Him one with us in the Incarnation and in the Eucharist  . The reality of His body, as we have seen, is amply secured by Hilary; its universality is assured by the absence of any individual human paternity, which would have isolated Him from others  . Thus He took all humanity into His one body; He is the Church  , for He contains her through the mystery of His body. In Him, by the same means, `there is contained the congregation, so to speak, of the whole race of men.' Hence He spoke of Himself as the City set on a hill; the inhabitants are mankind  . But Christ not only embraces all humanity in Himself, but the archetype after Whom, and the final cause for Whom, man was made. Every soul, when it proceeds from the hands of God, is pure, free and immortal, with a natural affinity and capacity for good  , which can find its satisfaction only in Christ, the ideal Man. But if Christ is thus everything to man, humanity has also, in the foreordained purpose of God, something to confer upon Christ. The temporary humiliation of the Incarnation has for its result a higher glory than He possessed before  , acquired through the harmony of the two natures.
The course of this elevation is represented by Hilary as a succession of births, in continuation of the majestic series. First there had been the eternal generation of the Son; then His creation for the ways and for the works of God, His appointment, which Hilary regards as equivalent in importance to another birth, to the office of Creator; next the Incarnation, the birth in time which makes Him what He was not before, namely Man  . This is followed by the birth of Baptism, of which Hilary speaks thrice  . He read in St. Matthew iii. 17, instead of the familiar words of the Voice from heaven, `Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.' This was in his judgment the institution of the sacrament of Baptism; because Christ was baptized, we must follow His example. It was a new birth to Him, and therefore to us. He had been the Son; He became through Baptism the perfect Son by this fresh birth  . It is difficult to see what Hilary's thought was; perhaps he had not defined it to himself. But, with this reading in his copy of the Gospel, it was necessary that he should be ready with an explanation; and though there remained a higher perfection to be reached, this birth in Baptism might well be regarded as a stage in the return of Christ to His glory, an elevation of His humanity to a more perfect congruity with His Godhead. This birth is followed by another, the effect and importance of which is more obvious, that of the Resurrection, `the birthday of His humanity to glory  .' By the Incarnation He had lost unity with the Father; but the created nature, by the assumption of which He had disturbed the unity both within Himself and in relation to the Father, is now raised to the level on which that unity is again possible. In the Resurrection, therefore, it is restored; and this stage of Christ's achievement is regarded as a New birth  , by which His glory becomes, as it had been before, the same as that of the Father. But now the glory is shared by His humanity; the servant's form is promoted to the glory of God  and the discordance comes to an end. Christ, God and Man, stands where the Word before the Incarnation stood. In this Resurrection, the only step in this Divine work which is caused by sin, His full humanity partakes. In order to satisfy all the conditions of actual human life, He died and visited the lower world  ; and also, as man shall do, He rose again with the same body in which He had died  . Then comes that final state, of which something has already been said, when God shall be all in all. No further change will be possible within the Person of Christ, for his humanity, already in harmony with the Godhead, will now be transmuted. The whole Christ, Man as well as God, will become wholly God. Yet the humanity will still exist, for it is inseparable from the Divinity, and will consist, as before, of body and soul. But there will be nothing earthly or fleshly left in the body; its nature will be purely spiritual  . The only form in which Hilary can express this result is the seeming paradox that Christ will, by virtue of the final subjection, `be and continue what He is not  .' By this return of the whole Christ into perfect union with God, humanity attains the purpose of its creation. He was the archetype after Whose likeness man was fashioned, and in His Person all the possibilities of mankind are attained. And this great consummation not only fulfils the destinies of humanity; it brings also an augmentation of the glory of Him Who is glorified in Christ  .
In the fact that humanity is thus elevated in Christ consists the hope of individual men. Man in Him has, in a true sense, become God  ; and though Hilary as a rule avoids the phrase, familiar to him in the writings of his Alexandrian teachers and freely used by Athanasius and other of his contemporaries, that men become gods because God became Man, still the thought which it coveys is constantly present to his mind. As we have seen, men are created with such elevation as their final cause; they have the innate certainty that their soul is of Divine origin and a natural longing for the knowledge and hope of things eternal  . But they can only rise by a process, corresponding to that by which the humanity in Christ was raised to the level of the Divinity. This process begins with the new birth in the one Baptism, and attains its completion when we fully receive the nature and the knowledge of God. We are to be members of Christ's body and partakers in Him, saved into the name and the nature of God  . And the means to this is knowledge of Him, received into a pure mind  . Such knowledge makes the soul of man a dwelling rational, pure and eternal, wherein the Divine nature, whose properties these are, may eternally abide  . Only that which has reason can be in union with Him Who is reason. Faith must be accurately informed as well as sincere. Christ became Man in order that we might believe Him; that He might be a witness to us from among ourselves touching the things of God  .
We have now followed Hilary through his great theory, in which we may safely say that no other theologian entirely agrees, and which, where it is most original, diverges most widely from the usual lines of Christian thought. Yet it nowhere contradicts the accepted standards of belief; and if it errs it does so in explanation, not in the statement of the truths which it undertakes to explain. Hilary has the distinction of being the only one of his contemporaries with the speculative genius to imagine this development ending in the abolition of incongruity and in the restoration of the full majesty of the Son and of man with Him  . He saw that there must be such a development, and if he was wrong in tracing its course, there is a reverence and loyalty, a solidity of reasoning and steady grasp of the problems under discussion, which save him from falling into mere ingenuity or ostentation. Sometimes he may seem to be on the verge of heresy; but in each case it will be found that, whether his system be right or no, the place in it which he has found for an argument used elsewhere in the interests of error is one where the argument is powerless for evil. Sometimes--and this is the most serious reproach that can be brought against him--it must seem that his theology is abstract, moving in a region apart from the facts of human life. It must be admitted that this is the case; that though, as we shall presently see, Hilary had a clear sense of the realities of temptation and sin and of the need of redemption, and has expressed himself in these regards with the fervour and practical wisdom of an earnest and experienced pastor, still these subjects lie within the sphere of his feelings rather than of his thought. It was not his fault that he lived in the days before St. Augustine, and in the heat of an earlier controversy; and it is his conspicuous merit that in his zeal for the Divinity of Christ he traced the Incarnation back beyond the beginning of sin and found its motive in God's eternal purpose of uniting man to Himself. He does not estimate the condescension of Christ by the distance which separates the Sinless from the sinful. To his wider thought sin is not the cause of that great sequence of Divine acts of grace, but a disturbing factor which has modified its course. The measure of the love of God in Christ is the infinity He overpassed in uniting the Creator with the creature.
But before we approach the practical theology of Hilary something must be said of his teaching concerning the Third Person of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is little developed in his writings. The cause was, in part, his sympathy with Eastern thought. The West, in this as in some other respects, was in advance of the contemporary Greeks; but Hilary was too independent to accept conclusions which were as yet unreasoned  . But a stronger reason was that the doctrine was not directly involved in the Arian controversy. On the main question, as we have seen, he kept an open mind, and was prepared to modify from time to time the terms in which he stated the Divinity of our Lord; but in other respects he was often strangely archaic. Such is the case here; Hilary's is a logical position, but the logical process has been arrested. There is nothing in his words concerning the Holy Spirit inconsistent with the later definitions of faith  , and it would be unfair to blame him because, in the course of a strenuous life devoted to the elucidation and defence of other doctrines, he found no time to develope this; unfair also to blame him for not recognising its full importance. In his earlier days, and while he was in alliance with the Semiarians, there was nothing to bring this doctrine prominently before his mind; in his later life it still lay outside the range of controversy, so far as he was concerned. Hilary, in fact, preferred like Athanasius to rest in the indefinite terms of the original Nicene Creed, the confession of which ended with the simple `And in the Holy Ghost.' But there was a further and practical reason for his reserve. It was a constant taunt of the Arians that the Catholics worshipped a plurality of Gods. The frequency and emphasis with which Hilary denies that Christians have either two Gods or one God in solitude proves that he regarded this plausible assertion as one of the most dangerous weapons wielded by heresy. It was his object, as a skilful disputant, to bring his whole forces to bear upon them, and this in a precisely limited field of battle. To import the question of the Holy Spirit into the controversy might distract his reader's attention from the main issue, and afford the enemy an opening for that evasion which he constantly accuses them of attempting. Hence, in part, the small space allowed to so important a theme; and hence the avoidance, which we noticed, of the very word `Trinity.' The Arians made the most of their argument about two Gods; Hilary would not allow them the opportunity of imputing to the faithful a belief in three. This might not have been a sufficient inducement, had it stood alone, but the encouragement which he received from Origen's vagueness, representative as it was of the average theology of the third century, must have predisposed him to give weight to the practical consideration. Yet Hilary has not avoided a formal statement of his belief. In Trin. ii. §§ 29-35, which is, as we saw, part of a summary statement of the Christian Faith, he sets it forth with Scripture proofs. But he shows clearly, by the short space he allows to it, that it is not in his eyes of co-ordinate importance with the other truths of which he treats. And the curious language in which he introduces the subject, in § 29, seems to imply that he throws it in to satisfy others rather than from his own sense of its necessary place in such a statement. The doctrine, as he here defines it, is that the Holy Spirit undoubtedly exists; the Father and the Son are the Authors of His being, and, since He is joined with Them in our confession, He cannot, without mutilation of the Faith, be separated from Them. The fact that He is given to us is a further proof of His existence. Yet the title `Spirit' is often used both for Father and for Son; in proof of this St. John iv. 24 and 2 Cor. iii. 17 are cited. Yet the Holy Spirit has a personal  existence and a special office in relation to us. It is through Him that we know God. Our nature is capable of knowing Him, as the eye is capable of sight; and the gift of the Spirit is to the soul what the gift of light is to the eye. Again, in xii. §§ 55, 56, the subject is introduced, as if by an after thought, and even more briefly than in the second book. As he has refused to style the Son a creature, so he refuses to give that name to the Spirit, Who has gone forth from God, and been sent by Christ. The Son is the Only-begotten, and therefore he will not say that the Spirit was begotten; yet he cannot call Him a creature, for the Spirit's knowledge of the mysteries of God, of which He is the Interpreter to men, is the proof of His oneness in nature with God. The Spirit speaks unutterable things and is ineffable in His operation. Hilary cannot define, yet he believes. It must suffice to say, with the Apostle, simply that He is the Spirit of God. The tone of § 56 seems that of silent rebuke to some excess of definition, as he would deem it, of which he had heard. To these passages must be added another in Trin. viii. 19 f., where the possession by Father and Son of one Spirit is used in proof of their own unity. But in this passage there occur several instances of Hilary's characteristic vagueness. As in ii. 30, so here we are told that `the Spirit' may mean Father or Son as well as Holy Ghost  , and instances are given where the word has one or other of the two first significations. Thus we must set a certain number of passages where a reference in Scripture to the Holy Spirit is explained away against a number, certainly no greater, in which He is recognised, and in the latter we notice a strong tendency to understate the truth. For though we are expressly told that the Spirit is not a creature, that He is from the Father through the Son, is of one substance with Them and bears the same relation to the One that He bears to the Other  , yet Hilary refuses with some emphasis and in a conspicuous place, at the very end of the treatise, to call Him God. But both groups of passages, those in which the Holy Ghost is recognised and those in which reason is given for non-recognition, are more than counterbalanced by a multitude in which, no doubt for the controversial reason already mentioned, the Holy Spirit is left unnamed, though it would have been most natural that allusion should be made to Him  . We find in Hilary `the premises from which the Divinity of the Holy Ghost is the necessary conclusion  ;' and there is reason to believe that he would have stated the doctrine of the Procession in the Western, not in the Eastern, form  ; but we find a certain willingness to keep the doctrine in the background, which sufficiently indicates a failure to grasp its cardinal importance, and is, however natural in his circumstances and however interesting as evidence of his mode of thought, a blemish to the De Trinitate, if we seek in it a balanced exposition of the Faith  .
We may now turn to the practical teaching of Hilary. Henceforth he will be no longer the compiler of the best Latin handbook of the Arian controversy, or the somewhat unsystematic investigator of unexplored regions of theology. We shall find him often accepting the common stock of Christian ideas of his age, without criticism or attempt at improvement upon them; often paraphrasing in even more emphatic language emphatic and apparently contradictory passages of Scripture, without any effort after harmony or balance. Yet sometimes we shall find him anticipating on one page the thoughts of later theologians, while on another he is content to repeat the views upon the same subject which had satisfied an earlier generation. His doctrine, where it is not traditional, is never more than tentative, and we must not be surprised, we must even expect, to find him inconsistent with himself.
No subject illustrates this inconsistency better than that of sin, of which Hilary gives two accounts, the one Eastern and traditional, the other an anticipation of Augustinianism. These are never compared and weighed the one against the other. In the passages where each appears, it is adduced confidently, without any reservation or hint that he is aware of another explanation of the facts of experience. The more usual account is that which is required by Hilary's doctrine of the separate creation of every human soul, which is good, because it is God's immediate work, and has a natural tendency to, and fitness for, perfection. Because God, after Whose image man is made, is free, therefore man also is free; he has absolute liberty, and is under no compulsion to good or to evil  . The sin which God foresees, as in the case of Esau, He does not foreordain  . Punishment never follows except upon sin actually committed; the elect are they who show themselves worthy of election  . But the human body has defiled the soul; in fact, Hilary sometimes speaks as though sin were not an act of will but an irresistible pressure exerted by the body on the soul. If we had no body, he says once, we should have no sin; it is a `body of death' and cannot be pure. This is the spiritual meaning of the ancient law against touching a corpse  . When the Psalmist laments that his soul cleaveth to the ground, his sorrow is that it is inseparably attached to a body of earth  ; when Job and Jeremiah cursed the day of their birth, their anger was directed against the necessity of living surrounded by the weaknesses and vices of the flesh, not against the creation of their souls after the image of God  . Such language, if it stood alone, would convict its author of Manicheanism, but Hilary elsewhere asserts that the desire of the soul goes half-way to meet the invitation of sin  , and this latter in his normal teaching. Man has a natural proclivity to evil, an inherited weakness  which has, as a matter of experience, betrayed all men into actual sin, with the exception of Christ  . Elsewhere, however, Hilary recognises the possibility, under existing conditions, of a sinless life. For David could make the prayer, `Take from me the way of iniquity;' of iniquity itself he was guiltless, and only needed to pray against the tendency inherent in his bodily nature  . But such a case is altogether exceptional; ordinary men must confide in the thought that God is indulgent, for He knows our infirmity. He is propitiated by the wish to be righteous, and in His judgment the merits of good men outweigh their sins  . Hence a prevalent tone of hopefulness about the future state of the baptized; even Sodom and Gomorrah, their punishment in history having satisfied the righteousness of God, shall ultimately be saved  . Yet God has a perfect, immutable goodness of which human goodness, though real, falls infinitely short, because He is steadfast and we are driven by varying impulses  . This Divine goodness is the standard and the hope set before us. It can only be attained by grace  , and grace is freely offered. But just as the soul, being free, advances to meet sin, so it must advance to meet grace. Man must take the first step; he must wish and pray for grace, and then perseverance in faith will be granted him  , together with such a measure of the Spirit as he shall desire and deserve  . He will, indeed, be able to do more than he need, as David did when he spared and afterwards lamented Saul, his worst enemy, and St. Paul, who voluntarily abstained from the lawful privilege of marriage  . Such is Hilary's first account, `a naive, undeveloped mode of thought concerning the origin of sin and the state of man  .' Its inconsistencies are as obvious as their cause, the unguarded homiletical expansion of isolated passages. There is no attempt to reconcile man's freedom to be good with the fact of universal sin. The theory, so far as it is consistent, is derived from Alexandria, from Clement and Origen. It may seem not merely inadequate as theology, but philosophical rather than Christian; and its aim is, indeed, that of strengthening man's sense of moral responsibility and of heightening his courage to withstand temptation. But we must remember that Hilary everywhere assumes the union between the Christian and Christ. While this union exists there is always the power of bringing conduct into conformity with His will. Conduct, then, is, comparatively speaking, a matter of detail. Sins of action and emotion do not necessarily sever the union; a whole system of casuistry might be built upon Hilary's foundation. But false thoughts of God violate the very principle of union between Him and man. However abstract they may seem and remote from practical life, they are an insuperable barrier. For intellectual harmony, as well as moral, is necessary; and error of belief, like a key moving in a lock with whose wards it does not correspond, forbids all access to the nature and the grace of God. A good example of his relative estimate of intellectual and moral offences occurs in the Homily on Psalm i. §§ 6-8, where it is noteworthy that he does not trace back the former to moral causes  .
Against these, the expressions of Hilary's usual opinion, must be set others in which he anticipates the language of St. Augustine in the Pelagian controversy. But certain deductions must be made, before we can rightly judge the weight of his testimony on the side of original sin. Passages where he is merely amplifying the words of Scripture must be excluded, as also those which are obviously exhibitions of unguarded rhetoric. For instance such words as these, `Ever since the sin and unbelief of our first parent, we of later generations have had sin for the father of our body and unbelief for the mother of our soul  ,' contradicting as they do Hilary's well-known theory of the origin of the soul, cannot be regarded as giving his deliberate belief concerning sin. Again, we must be careful not to interpret strong language concerning the body (e.g. Tr. in Ps. cxviii, Caph, 5 fin.), as though it referred to our whole complex manhood. But after all deductions a good deal of strong Augustinianism remains. In the person of Adam God created all mankind, and all are implicated in his downfall, which was not only the beginning of evil but is a continuous power  . Not only as a matter of experience, is no man sinless, but no man can, by any possibility, be free from sin  . Because of the sin of one sentence is passed upon all  ; the sentence of slavery which is so deep a degradation that the victim of sin forfeits even the name of man  . But Hilary not only states the doctrine; he approaches very nearly, on rare occasions, to the term `original sin  .' It follows that nothing less than a regeneration, the free gift of God, will avail  ; and the grace by which the Christian must be maintained is also His spontaneous and unconditional gift. Faith, knowledge, Christian life, all have their origin and their maintenance from Him  . Such is a brief statement of Hilary's position as a forerunner of St. Augustine. The passages cited are scattered over his writings, from the earliest to the latest, and there is no sign that the more modern view was gaining ground in his mind as his judgment ripened. He had no occasion to face the question, and was content to say whatever seemed obviously to arise from the words under discussion, or to be most profitable to his audience. His Augustinianism, if it may be called so, is but one of many instances of originality, a thought thrown out but not developed. It is a symptom of revolt against the inadequate views of older theologians; but it had more influence upon the mind of his great successor than upon his own. Dealing, as he did, with the subject in hortatory writings, hardly at all, and only incidentally, in his formal treatise on the Trinity, he preferred to regard it as a matter of morals rather than of doctrine. And the dignity of man, impressed upon him by the great Alexandrians, seemed to demand for humanity the fullest liberty.
We may now turn to the Atonement, by which Christ has overcome sin. Hilary's language concerning it is, as a rule, simply Scriptural  . He had no occasion to discuss the doctrine, and his teaching is that which was traditional in his day, without any such anticipations of future thought as we found in his treatment of sin. Since the humanity of Christ is universal, His death was on behalf of all mankind, `to buy the salvation of the whole human race by the offering of this holy and perfect Victim  .' His last cry upon the cross was the expression of His sorrow that some would not profit by His sacrifice; that He was not, as He had desired, bearing the sins of all  . He was able to take them upon Him because He had both natures. His manhood could do what His Godhead could not; it could atone for the sins of men. Man had been overcome by Satan; Satan, in his turn, has been overcome by Man. In the long conflict, enduring through Christ's life, of which the first pitched battle was the Temptation, the last the Crucifixion, the victory has been won by the Mediator in the flesh  . The devil was in the wrong throughout. He was deceived, or rather deceived himself, not recognising what it was for which Christ hungered  . The same delusion as to Christ's character led him afterwards to exact the penalty of sin from One Who had not deserved it  . Thus the human sufferings of Christ, unjustly inflicted, involve His enemy in condemnation and forfeit his right to hold mankind enslaved. Therefore we are set free  , and the sinless Passion and death are the triumph of the flesh over spiritual wickedness and the vengeance of God upon it  . Man is set free, because he is justified in Christ, Who is Man. But the fact that Christ could do the works necessary to this end is proof that He is God. These works included the endurance of such suffering--in the sense, of course, which Hilary attaches to the word--as no one who was not more than man could bear. Hence he emphasises the Passion, because in so doing he magnifies the Divine nature of Him Who sustained it  . He sets forth the sufferings in the light of deeds, of displays of power  , the greatest wonder being that the Son of God should have made Himself passible. Yet though it was from union with the Godhead that His humanity possessed the purity, the willingness, the power to win this victory, and thought, in Hilary's words, it was immortal God Who died upon the Cross, still it was a victory won not by God but by the flesh  . But the Passion must not be regarded simply as an attack, ending in his own overthrow, made by Satan upon Christ. It is also a free satisfaction offered to God by Christ as Man, in order that His sufferings might release us from the punishment we had deserved, being accepted instead of ours  . This latter was a thought peculiarly characteristic of the West, and especially of St. Cyprian's teaching; but Hilary has had his share in giving prominence to the propitiatory aspect of Christ's self-sacrifice  . Yet it must be confessed that the death of Christ is somewhat in the background; that Hilary is less interested in its positive value than in its negative aspect, as the cessation from earthly life and the transition to glory. Upon this, and upon the evidential importance of the Passion as a transcendent exertion of power, whereby the Son of God held Himself down and constrained Himself to suffer and die, Hilary chiefly dwells. The death has not, in his eyes, the interest of the Resurrection. The reason is that it does not belong to the course of the Incarnation as fore-ordained by God, but is only a modification of it, rendered necessary by the sinful self-will of man. Had there been no Fall, the visible, palpable flesh would still have been laid aside, though not by death upon the Cross, when Christ's work in the world was done; and there would have been some event corresponding to the Ascension, if not to the Resurrection. The body, laid aside on earth, would have been resumed in glory; and human flesh, unfallen and therefore not corrupt, yet free and therefore corruptible, would have entered into perfectly harmonious union with His Divinity, and so have been rendered safe from all possibility of evil. The purpose of raising man to the society of God was anterior to the beginnings of sin; and it is this broader conception that renders the Passion itself intelligible, while relegating it to a secondary place. But Hilary, though as a rule he mentions the subject not for its own sake but in the course of argument, has as firm a faith in the efficacy of Christ's death and of His continued intercession in His humanity for mankind  as he has in His triumphant Resurrection.
In regard to the manner in which man is to profit by the Atonement, Hilary shews the same inconsistency as in the case of sin. On the one hand, he lays frequent stress on knowledge concerning God and concerning the nature of sin as the first conditions of salvation; on the other, he insists, less often yet with equal emphasis, upon its being God's spontaneous gift to men, to be appropriated only by faith. We have already seen that one of Hilary's positions is that man must take the first step towards God; that if we will make the beginning He will give the increase  . This increase is the knowledge of God imparted to willing minds  , which lifts them up to piety. He states strongly the superiority of knowledge to faith;--"There is a certain greater effectiveness in knowledge than in faith. Thus the writer here did not believe; he knew  . For faith has the reward of obedience, but it has not the assurance of ascertained truth. The Apostle has indicated the breadth of the interval between the two by putting the latter in the lower place in his list of the gifts of graces. `To the first wisdom, to the next knowledge, to the third faith' is his message  ; for he who believes may be ignorant even while he believes, but he who has come to know is saved by his possession of knowledge from the very possibility of unbelief  ." This high estimation of sound knowledge was due, no doubt, to the intellectual character of the Arian conflict, in which each party retorted upon the other the charge of ignorance and folly; and it must have been confirmed by the observation that some who were conspicuous for the misinterpretation of Scripture were notorious also for moral obliquity. There was, however, that deeper reason which influenced all Hilary's thought; the conviction that if there is to be any harmony, any understanding between God and the soul of man, it must be a perfect harmony and understanding. And knowledge is pre-eminently the sphere in which this is possible, for the revelation of God is clear and precise, and unmistakable in its import  . But there was another, a directly practical reason for this insistence. Apprehension of Divine truths is the unfailing test of a Christian mind; conduct changes and faith varies in intensity, but the facts of religion remain the same, and the believer can be judged by his attitude towards them. Hence we cannot be surprised that Hilary maintains the insufficiency of `simplicity of faith,' and ranks its advocates with heathen philosophers who regard purity of life as a substitute for religion. God, he says, has provided copious knowledge, with which we cannot dispense  . But this knowledge is to embrace not only the truth concerning God, but also concerning the realities of human life. It is to be a knowledge of the fact that sins have been committed and an opening of the eyes to their enormity  . This will be followed by confession to God, by the promise to Him that we will henceforth regard sin as He regards it, and by the profession of a firm purpose to abandon it. Here again the starting-point is human knowledge. When the right attitude towards sin, intellectually and therefore morally, has been assumed, when there is the purpose of amendment and an earnest and successful struggle against sensual and worldly temptations, then we shall become `worthy of the favour of God  .' In this light confession is habitually regarded  ; it is a voluntary moral act, a self-enlightenment to the realities of sin, necessarily followed by repugnance and the effort to escape, and antecedent to Divine pardon and aid. But in contrast to this, Hilary's normal judgment, there are passages where human action is put altogether in the background. Forgiveness is the spontaneous bounty of God, overflowing from the riches of His loving-kindness, and faith the condition of its bestowal and the means by which it is appropriated  . Even the Psalmist, himself perfect in all good works, prayed for mercy; he put his whole trust in God, and so must we  . And faith precedes knowledge also, which is unattainable except by the believer  . Salvation does not come first, and then faith, but through faith is the hope of salvation; the blind man believed before he saw  . Here again, as in the case of sin, we have two groups of statements without attempt at reconciliation; but that which lays stress upon human initiative is far more numerous than the other, and must be regarded as expressing Hilary's underlying thought in his exhortations to Christian conduct, to his doctrine of which we may now turn.
We must first premise that Christ's work as our Example as well as our Saviour is fully recognised. Many of his deeds on earth were done by way of dispensation, in order to set us a pattern of life and thought  . Christian life has, of course, its beginning in the free gift of Baptism, with the new life and the new faculties then bestowed, which render possible the illumination of the soul  . Hilary, as was natural at a time when Baptism was often deferred by professed Christians, and there were many converts from paganism, seems to contemplate that of adults as the rule; and he feels it necessary to warn them that their Baptism will not restore them to perfect innocence. In fact, by a strange conjecture tentatively made, he once suggests that our Baptism is that wherewith John baptized our Lord, and that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost awaits us hereafter, in cleansing fires beyond the grave or in the purification of martyrdom  . Hilary nowhere says in so many words that while Baptism abolishes sins previously committed, alms and other good deeds perform a similar office for later offences, but his view, which will be presently stated, concerning good works shews that he agreed in this respect with St. Cyprian; neither, however, would hold that the good works were sufficient in ordinary cases without the further purification. Martyrdoms had, of course, ceased in Hilary's day throughout the Roman empire, but it is interesting to observe that the old opinion, which had such power in the third century, still survived. The Christian, then, has need for fear, but he has a good hope, for all the baptized while in this world are still in the land of the living, and can only forfeit their citizenship by wilful and persistent unworthiness  . The means for maintaining the new life of effort is the Eucharist, which is equally necessary with Baptism  . But the Eucharist is one of the many matters of practical importance on which Hilary is almost silent, having nothing new to say, and being able to assume that his readers and hearers were well informed and of one mind with himself. His reticence is never a proof that he regarded them with indifference.
The Christian life is thus a life of hope and of high possibilities. But Hilary frankly and often recognises the serious short-comings of the average believers of his day  . Sometimes, in his zeal for their improvement and in the wish to encourage his flock, he even seems to condone their faults, venturing to ascribe to God what may almost be styled mere good-nature, as when he speaks of God, Himself immutable, as no stern Judge of our changefulness, but rather appeased by the wish on our part for better things than angry because we cannot perform impossibilities. But in this very passage  he holds up for our example the high attainment of the Saints, explaining that the Psalmist's words, `There is none that doeth good, no not one,' refer only to those who are altogether gone out of the way and become abominable, and not to all mankind. Indeed, holding as he does that all Christians may have as much grace from God as they will take  , and that the conduct which is therefore possible is also necessary to salvation, he could not consistently maintain the lower position. In fact, the standard of life which Hilary sets in the Homilies on the Psalms is very high. Cleanness of hand and heart is the first object at which we must aim  , and the Law of God must be our delight. This is the lesson inculcated throughout his discourses on Psalm cxix. He recognises the complexity of life, with its various duties and difficulties, which are, however, a privilege inasmuch as there is honour to be won by victory over them  ; and he takes a common-sense view of our powers and responsibilities  . But though his tone is buoyant and life in his eyes is well worth living for the Christian  , he insists not merely upon a general purity of life, but upon renunciation of worldly pleasures. Like Cyprian, he would apparently have the wealthy believer dispose of his capital and spend his income in works of charity, without thought of economy  . Like Cyprian, again, he denounces the wearing of gold and jewellery  , and the attendance at public places of amusement. Higher interests, spiritual and intellectual, must take the place of such dissipation. Sacred melody will be more attractive than the immodest dialogue of the theater, and study of the course of the stars a more pleasing pursuit than a visit to the racecourse  . Yet strictly and even sternly Christian as Hilary is, he does not allow us altogether to forget that his is an age with another code than ours. Vengeance with him is a Christian motive. He takes with absolute literalness the Psalmist's imprecations  . Like every other emotion which he expresses, that of delight at the punishment of evil doers ought to have a place in the Christian soul. This was an inheritance from the days of persecution, which were still within the memory of living men. Cyprian often encourages the confessors to patience by the prospect of seeing the wrath of God upon their enemies; but he never gives so strong expression to the feeling as Hilary does, when he enforces obedience to our Lord's command to turn the other cheek by the consideration that fuller satisfaction will be gained if the wrong be stored up against the Day of Judgement  . There is something hard and Puritan in the tone which Hilary has caught from the men of the times of persecution; and his conflict with heretics gave him ample opportunity for indulgence in the thought of vengeance upon them. This was no mere pardonable excitement of feeling; it was a Christian duty and privilege to rejoice in the future destruction of his opponents. But there is an even stranger difference between his standard and ours. Among the difficulties of keeping in the strait and narrow way he reckons that of truthfulness. A lie, he says, is often necessary, and deliberate falsehood sometimes useful  . We may mislead an assassin, and so enable his intended victim to escape; our testimony may save a defendant who is in peril in the courts; we may have to cheer a sick man by making light of his ailment. Such are the cases in which the Apostle says that our speech is to be `seasoned with salt.' It is not the lie that is wrong; the point of conscience is whether or no it will inflict injury upon another. Hilary is not alone in taking falsehood lightly  , and allowance must be made for the age in which he lived. And his words cast light upon the history of the time. The constant accusations made against the character and conduct of theological opponents, which are so painful a feature of the controversies of the early centuries, find their justification in the principle which Hilary has stated. No harm was done, rather a benefit was conferred upon mankind, if a false teacher could be discredited in a summary and effective manner; such was certainly a thought which presented itself to the minds of combatants, both orthodox and heterodox. Apart from these exceptions, which, however, Hilary would not have regarded as such, his standard of life, as has been said, is a high one both in faith and in practice, and his exhortation is full of strong common sense. It is, however, a standard set for educated people; there is little attention paid to those who are safe from the dangers of intellect and wealth. The worldliness which he rebukes is that of the rich and influential; and his arguments are addressed to the reading class, as are his numerous appeals to his audience in the Homilies on the Psalms to study Scripture for themselves. Indeed, his advice to them seems to imply that they have abundant leisure for spiritual exercises and for reflection. But he does not simply ignore the illiterate, still mostly pagans, for the work of St. Martin of Tours only began, as we saw, in Hilary's last days; in one passage at least he speaks with the scorn of an ancient philosopher of `the rustic mind,' which will fail to find the meaning of the Psalms  .
Hilary is not content with setting a standard which his flock must strive to reach. He would have them attain to a higher level than is commanded, and at the same time constantly remember that they are failing to perform their duty to God. This higher life is set before his whole audience as their aim. He recognises the peculiar honour of the widow and the virgin  , but has singularly little to say about these classes of the Christian community, or about the clergy, and no special counsel for them. The works of supererogation--the word is not his--which he preaches are within the reach of all Christians. They consist in the more perfect practice of the ordinary virtues. King David `was not content henceforth to be confined to the express commands of the Law, nor to be subject to a mere necessity of obedience.' `The Prophet prays that these free-will offerings may be acceptable to God, because the deeds done in compliance to the Law's edict are performed under the actual compulsion of servitude  .' As an instance he gives the character of David. His duty was to be humble; he made himself humble exceedingly, thus doing more than he was legally bound to do. He spared his enemies so far as in him lay, and bewailed their death; this was a free service to which he was bound by no compulsion. Such conduct places those who practice it on the same level with those whose lives are formally consecrated; the state of the latter being regarded, as always in early times, as admirable in itself, and not as a means towards higher things. Vigils and fasts and acts of mercy are the methods advocated by Hilary for such attainment. But they must not stand alone, nor must the Christian put his trust in them. Humility must have faith for its principle, and fasting be combined with charity.  And the Christian must never forget that though he may in some respects be doing more than he need, yet in others he is certainly falling short. For the conflict is unceasing; the devil, typified by the mountains in the Psalm, has been touched by God and is smoking, but is not yet burning and powerless for mischief  . Hence there is constant danger lest the Christian fall into unbelief or unfruitfulness, sins equally fatal  ; he must not trust in himself, either that he can deserve forgiveness for the past or resist future temptations  . Nor may he dismiss his past offences from his memory. It can never cease to be good for us to confess our former sins, even though we have become righteous. St. Paul did not allow himself to forget that he had persecuted the Church of God  . But there is a further need than that of penitence. Like Cyprian before him and Augustine after him, Hilary insists upon the value of alms in the sight of God. The clothing of the naked, the release of the captive plead with God for the remission of our sins  ; and the man who redeems his faults by alms is classed among those who win His favour, with the perfect in love and the blameless in faith  .
Thus the thought of salvation by works greatly preponderates over that of salvation by grace. Hilary is fearful of weakening man's sense of moral responsibility by dwelling too much upon God's work which, however, he does not fail to recognise. Of the two great dangers, that of faith and that of life, the former seemed to him the more serious. God's requirements in that respect were easy of fulfilment; He had stated the truth and He expected it to be unhesitatingly accepted. But if belief, being an exertion of the will, was easy, misbelief must be peculiarly and fatally wicked. The confession of St. Peter, the foundation upon which the Church is built, is that Christ is God  ; the sin against the Holy Ghost is denial of this truth  . These are the highest glory and the deepest shame of man. It does not seem that Hilary regarded any man, however depraved, as beyond hope so long as he did not dispute this truth; he has no code of mortal sins. But heresy concerning Christ, whatever the conduct and character of the heretic, excludes all possibility of salvation, for it necessarily cuts him off from the one Faith and the one Church which are the condition and the sphere of growth towards perfection; and the severance is just, because misbelief is a wilful sin. Since, then, compliance or non-compliance with one of God's demands, that for faith in His revelation, depends upon the will, it was natural that Hilary should lay stress upon the importance of the will in regard to God's other demand, that for a Christian life. This was, in a sense, a lighter requirement, for various degrees of obedience were possible. Conduct could neither give nor deny faith, but only affect its growth, while without the frank recognition of the facts of religion no conduct could be acceptable to God. Life presents to the will a constantly changing series of choices between good and evil, while the Faith must be accepted or rejected at once and as a whole. It is clear from Hilary's insistence upon this that the difficulties, apart from heresy, with which he had to contend resembled those of Mission work in modern India. There were many who would accept Christianity as a revelation, yet had not the moral strength to live in conformity with their belief. Of such persons Hilary will not despair. They have the first essential of salvation, a clear and definite acceptance of doctrinal truth; they have also the offer of sufficient grace, and the free will and power to use it. And time and opportunity are granted, for the vicissitudes of life form a progressive education; they are, if taken aright, the school, the training-ground for immortality  . This is because all Christians are in Christ, by virtue of His Incarnation. They are, as St. Paul says, complete in Him, furnished with the faith and hope they need. But this is only a preparatory completeness; hereafter they shall be complete in themselves, when the perfect harmony is attained and they are conformed to his glory  . Thus to the end the dignity and responsibility of mankind is maintained. But it is obvious that Hilary has failed to correlate the work of Christ with the work of the Christian. The necessity of His guidance and aid, and the manner in which these are bestowed, is sufficiently stated, and the duty of the Christian man is copiously and eloquently enforced. But the importance of Christ's work within Himself, in harmonising the two natures, has withdrawn most of Hilary's attention from His work within the believing soul; and the impression which Hilary's writings leave upon the mind concerning the Saviour and redeemed mankind is that of allied forces seeking the same end but acting independently, each in a sphere of its own.
There still remains to be considered Hilary's account of the future state. The human soul, being created after the image of God, is imperishable; resurrection is as inevitable as death  . And the resurrection will be in the body, for good and bad alike. The body of the good will be glorified, like that of Christ; its substance will be the same as in the present life, its glory such that it will be in all other respects a new body  . Indeed, the true life of man only begins when this transformation takes place  . No such change awaits the wicked; we shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed, as St. Paul says  . They remain as they are, or rather are subjected to a ceaseless process of deterioration, whereby the soul is degraded to the level of the body, while this in the case of others is raised, either instantly or by a course of purification, to the level of the soul  . Their last state is vividly described in language which recalls that of Virgil; crushed to powder and dried to dust they will fly for ever before the wind of God's wrath  . For the thoroughly good and the thoroughly bad the final state begins at the moment of death. There is no judgment for either class, but only for those whose character contains elements of both good and evil  . But perfect goodness is only a theoretical possibility, and Hilary is not certain of the condemnation of any except wilful unbelievers. Evil is mingled in varying proportions with good in the character of men at large; God can detect it in the very best. All therefore need to be purified after death, if they are to escape condemnation on the Day of Judgment. Even the Mother of our Lord needs the purification of pain; this is the sword which should pierce through her soul  . All who are infected by sin, the heretic who has erred in ignorance among them  , must pass through cleansing fires after death. Then comes the general Resurrection. To the good it brings the final change to perfect glory; the bad will rise only to return to their former place  . The multitude of men will be judged, and after the education and purification of suffering to which, by God's mercy, they have been submitted, will be accepted by Him. Hilary's writings contain no hint that any who are allowed to present themselves on the Day of Judgment will then be rejected.
We have now completed the survey of Hilary's thoughts. Many of these were strange and new to his contemporaries, and his originality, we may be sure, deprived him of some of the influence he wished to exert in the controversies of his day. Yet he shared the spirit and entered heartily into the interests and conflicts of his age, and therefore his thoughts in many ways were different from our own. To this we owe, no doubt, the preservation of his works; writings which anticipated modern opinion would have been powerless for good in that day, and would not have survived to ours. Thus from his own century to ours Hilary has been somewhat isolated and neglected, and even misunderstood. Yet he is one of the most notable figures in the history of the early Church, and must be numbered among those who have done most to make Christian thought richer and more exact. If we would appreciate him aright as one of the builders of the dogmatic structure of the Faith, we must omit from the materials of our estimate a great part of his writings, and a part which has had a wider influence than any other. His interpretation of the letter, though not of the spirit, of Scripture must be dismissed; interesting as it always is, and often suggestive, it was not his own and was a hindrance, though he did not see it, to the freedom of his thought. Yet his exegesis in detail is often admirable. For instance, it would not be easy to overpraise his insight and courage in resisting the conventional orthodoxy, sanctioned by Athanasius in his own generation and by Augustine in the next, which interpreted St. Paul's `first-born of every creature' as signifying the Incarnation of Christ, and not His eternal generation  . We must omit also much that Hilary borrowed without question from current opinion; it is his glory that he concentrated his attention upon some few questions of supreme importance, and his strength, not his weakness, that he was ready to adopt in other matters the best and wisest judgments to which he had access. An intelligent, and perhaps ineffective, curiosity may keep itself abreast of the thought of the time, to quote a popular phrase; Hilary was content to survey wide regions of doctrine and discipline with the eyes of Origen and of Cyprian. This limitation of the interests of a powerful mind has enabled him to penetrate further into the mysteries of the Faith than any of his predecessors; to points, in fact, where his successors have failed to establish themselves. We cannot blame him that later theologians, starting where he left off, have in some directions advanced further still. The writings of Hilary are the quarry whence many of the best thoughts of Ambrose and of Leo are hewn. Eminent and successful as these men were, we cannot rank them with Hilary as intellectually his equals; we may even wonder how many of their conclusions they would have drawn had not Hilary supplied the premises. It is a greater honour that the unrivalled genius of Augustine is deeply indebted to him. Nor may we blame him, save lightly, for some rashness and error in his speculations. He set out, unwillingly, as we know, but not half-heartedly, upon his novel journey of exploration. He had not, as we have, centuries of criticism behind him, and could not know that some of the avenues he followed would lead him astray. It may be that we are sober because we are, in a sense, disillusioned; that modern Christian thought which starts from the old premises tends to excess of circumspection. And certainly Hilary would not have earned his fame as one of the most original and profound of teachers, whose view of Christology is one of the most interesting in the whole of Christian antiquity  , had he not been inspired by a sense of freedom and of hope in his quest. Yet great as was his genius and reverent the spirit in which he worked, the errors into which he fell, though few, were serious. There are instances in which he neglects his habitual balancing of corresponding infinities; as when he shuts his eyes to half the revelation, and asserts that Christ could not be ignorant and could not feel pain. And there is that whole system of dispensations which he has built up in explanation of Christ's life on earth; a system against which our conscience and our common sense rebel, for it contradicts the plain words of Scripture and attributes to God `a process of Divine reserve which is in fact deception  .' We may compare Hilary's method in such cases to the architecture of Gloucester and of Sherborne, where the ingenuity of a later age has connected and adorned the massive and isolated columns of Norman date by its own light and graceful drapery of stonework. We cannot but admire the result; yet there is a certain concealment of the original design, and perhaps a perilous cutting away of the solid structure. But, in justice to Hilary, we must remember that in these speculations he is venturing away from the established standards of doctrine. When he is enunciating revealed truths, or arguing onward from them to conclusions towards which they point, he has the company of the Creeds, or at least they indicate the way he must go. But in explaining the connection between doctrine and doctrine he is left to his own guidance. It is as though a traveller, not content to acquaint himself with the highroads, should make his way over hedge and ditch from one of them to another; he will not always hit upon the best and straightest course. But at least Hilary's conclusions, though sometimes erroneous, were reached by honest and reverent reasoning, and neither ancient nor modern theology can afford to reproach him. The tendency of the former, especially offer the rise of Nestorius, was to exaggerate some of his errors; and the latter has failed to develope and enforce some of his highest teaching.
This is, indeed, worthy of all admiration. On the moral side of Christianity we see him insisting upon the voluntary character of Christ's work; upon His acts of will, which are a satisfaction to God and an appeal to us  . On the intellectual side we find the Unity in Trinity so luminously declared that Bishop French of Lahore, one of the greatest of missionaries, had the works of Hilary constantly in his hands, and contemplated a translation of the De Trinitate into Arabic for the benefit of Mohammedans  . This was not because Hilary's explanation of our Lord's sufferings might seem to commend the Gospel to their prejudices; such a concession would have been repugnant to French's whole mode of thought. It was because in the central argument on behalf of the Godhead of Christ, where he had least scope for originality of thought, Hilary has never suffered himself to become a mere mechanical compiler. The light which he has cast upon his subject, though clear, is never hard; and the doctrine which, because it was attractive to himself, he has made attractive to his readers, is that of the unity of God, the very doctrine which is of supreme importance in Mohammedan eyes  .
But, above all, it is Hilary's doctrine concerning the Incarnation as the eternal purpose of God for the union of the creature with the Creator, that must excite our interest and awaken our thoughts. He renders it, on the one hand, impossible to rate too highly the dignity of man, created to share the nature and the life of God; impossible, on the other hand, to estimate highly enough the condescension of Christ in assuming humanity. It is by His humiliation that we are saved; by the fact that the nature of man was taken by his Maker, not by the fact that Christ, being man, remained sinless. For sin began against God's will and after His counsel was formed; it might deflect the march of His purpose towards fulfilment, but could no more impede its consummation than it could cause its inception. The true salvation of man is not that which rescues him, when corrupt, from sin and its consequences, but that which raises him, corruptible, because free, even though he had not become corrupt, into the safety of union with the nature of God. Human life, though pure from actual sin, would have been aimless and hopeless without the Incarnation. And the human body would have had no glory, for its glory is that Christ has taken it, worn it awhile in its imperfect state, laid it aside and finally resumed it in its perfection. All this He must have done, in accordance with God's purpose, even though the Fall had never occurred. Hence the Incarnation and the Resurrection are the facts of paramount interest; the death of Christ, corresponding as it does to the hypothetical laying aside of the unglorified flesh, loses something of its usual prominence in Christian thought. It is represented as being primarily for Christ the moment of transition, for the Christian the act which enables him to profit by the Incarnation; but it is the Incarnation itself whereby, in Hilary's words, we are saved into the nature and the name of God. But though we may feel that this great truth is not stated in its full impressiveness, we must allow that the thought which has taken the foremost place is no mere academic speculation. And, after all, sin and the Atonement are copiously treated in his writings, though they do not control his exposition of the Incarnation. Yet even in this there are large spaces of his argument where these considerations have a place, though only to give local colour, so to speak, and a sense of reality to the description of a purpose formed and a work done for man because he is man, not because he is fallen. But if Hilary has somewhat erred in placing the Cross in the background, he is not in error in magnifying the scope of the reconciliation  which includes it as in a wider horizon. Man has in Christ the nature of God; the infinite Mind is intelligible to the finite. The Creeds are no dry statement of facts which do not touch our life; the truths they contain are the revelation of God's self to us. Not for the pleasure of weaving theories, but in the interests of practical piety, Hilary has fused belief and conduct into the unity of that knowledge which Isaiah foresaw and St. John possessed; the knowledge which is not a means towards life, but life itself.
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