1 Shewing the absurdity of defining the Church by counting heads.
2 The beginning of the Oration was apparently disturbed by hostile demonstrations on the part of Arian hearers.
3 Mic. vi. 3.
5 Theodosius and Gratian.
6 Dr. Ullmann makes this passage refer to outrages perpetrated in Constantinople itself on Gregory, by his Arian opponents. On one occasion, he says, in the night time the meetingplace of the Orthodox was assailed; a mob of Arians, and in particular women of the lowest stamp, set on by monks, armed themselves with sticks and stones, and forced an entrance into the peaceful place of holy worship. The champion of orthodoxy well nigh became a martyr to his convictions; the Altar who profaned, the consecrated wine was mixed with blood; the house of prayer was made a scene of outrage and unbridled licentiousness. The Benediction Editors, however, whom Benoit follows, think the reference is to the disturbances in Alexandria when the Arian Lucius was forcibly intruded into the Chair of Athanasius by the Prefect Phalladius. A full account of the atrocities by which his installation was marked is to be found in a letter of Peter, the expelled or orthodox Patriarch, preserved in Theodoret (H. E. IV. 22). This Lucius was living in Constantinople and abetting the Arian party there at the time when Gregory pronounced this Oration.
7 2 Kings xxv. 11.
8 Dan. v. 3.
9 Hos. viii. 11 (lxx..).
10 Socrates (H. E. IV. 16) gives an account of the murder of eighty Priests by order of Valens. The Prefect of Nicomedia, begin afraid to execute the Emperor's commands by a public action, put these men on board a ship, as if to send them into exile, but gave orders to the crew to set the vessel on fire on the high seas, and leave the prisoners to their fate.
Billius, however, thinks that the reference is to the martyrdom of a single Priest, whose death in this way is described b S. Gregory in his panegyric on Maximus (Or. xxv 10. p. 461, 462).
11 S. Athanasius was accused by the Arians of having murdered a Meletian Bishop named Arsenius, and cut off his hand to use for magical purposes; and at a Synod held at Tyre in 334 they produced the alleged hand in a box. Athanasius, however, was able to produce Arsenius alive and unmutilated; but even so his accusers were not satisfied.
12 Heb. xi. 38.
13 The reference is perhaps to Eusebius of Samosata, who was killed by a tile thrown at him by an Arian woman. In dying he bound his friends by an oath not to allow the murderess to be punished.
14 Jer. v. 7.
15 Prov. xviii. 17.
16 Valens had constructed an Aqueduct, partly subterranean, partly raised on arches, for the supply of water to the Capital.
17 A magnificent column on which stood an equestrian statue of Constantine the Great.
18 Hagg. ii. 8.
19 It is not certain what is the allusion here. Some think a great Circus or Hippodrome for chariot races; others say an institution in which were heretical schools; others again, the great baths of Zeuxippus.
20 Galat. ii. 9.
21 Acts vii. 59.
22 1 Cor. iv. 12.
23 Mark xiv. 51.
24 Jer. xxii. 14.
25 Ps. cxlvii. 4.
26 Valentinus, a celebrated Gnostic leader of the Second Century, was one of the first Gnostics who taught in Rome. He was probably of Aegypto-Jewish descent, and was educated at Alexandria. He died in Cyprus about 160. His system is a very curious one, giving the reins to the wildest vagaries of the imagination. The original eternal Being, or Absolute Existence, he called Bythos or Depth; and to this he assigned as a wife Sige or Silence. From this union there sprang thirty Aeons or Emanations, who unfolded the Attributes of the Deity and created the world.
27 Maricon was a contemporary of Valentinus. He was a native of Sinope in Pontus, of which city his father was Bishop. He supposed Three Principles, the Good God, Who was first revealed by Christ; the Just Creator, Who is the "hot tempered and imperfect" God of the Jews; and the intrinsically evil Hyle or Matter, which is ruled by the Devil. He also distinguished two Messiahs; one a mere warrior prince sent by the Jewish God to restore Israel; the other sent by the Good God for the delivery of the whole human race.
28 Montanus, a Phrygian enthusiast of the middle of the Second Century, imagined himself the inspired Organ of the Paraclete. Connected with him were two Prophetesses, Priscella and Maximilla, who left their husbands to follow him. His heresy, or rather his schism, spread to Rome and Northern Africa, and threw the whole Church into confusion. He was very early an athematized by Bishops and Synods of Asia, but he carried the great African, Tertullian, away by his frenzy.
29 Manes or Mani, a Persia philosopher, astronomer, and painter of the Third Century, who introduced into Christianity some elements drawn from the religion of Zoroaster, especially its prw=ton yeu\doj. Dualism, the co-eternity of two contradictory principles. Light and Darkness, Spirit and Matter. Good and Evil. This heresy flourished till the Sixth Century, S. Augustine himself having been for nine years led away by it. It is believed not to be wholly extinct even now in some parts of Eastern Christendom.
30 Novatus was a Carthaginian Priest, who at first rebelled against his Bishop, S. Cyprian, on account of his severity in the treatment of persons who had lapsed in the Decian persecution. At Rome, however, this same Novatus, either out of simple antagonism to constituted authority, or because he had really changed his views, adopted the extremest rigorism, and became one of the most violent partisans of the Priest Novatian, whom his followers contrived to get consecrated as a rival Bishop of Rome, in opposition to Cornelius, the reigning Pope. They set up a new "church," and arrogated to themselves an exclusive claim to the title of Cathari, the Pure.
31 Sabellius, a native of the Libyan Pentapolis, rejected the Catholic Faith of the Trinity of Persons in God, and would only allow a Trinity of manifestations.
32 It is hardly necessary here to dwell on the Arian tenets; cf. Prolegomena to the Theological Oration.
33 Photinus was a Galatian by birth, and flourished in the fourth century, a little earlier than S. Gregory. He seems to have taught that our Lord Jesus Christ was a mere man, and had no existence previous to His Birth of the Virgin Mary. He made Jesus rise on the basis of His human nature, by a course of moral improvement, to the divine dignity, so that the Divine in Him is a thing of growth: cf. Schaff, H. E. Nicene Period, vol. ii. p. 653.
34 Ps. xlv. 4.
1 Matt. ii. 13.
2 John vi. 33.
3 Hos. xi. 1.
4 Amos viii. 11.
5 Matt. xxiv. 12.
6 Gen. xli. 29 sq.
8 Galat. ii. 9.
9 Isa. lxii. 4.
10 Isai. lxiv. 12, etc.
11 Prov. ix. 5.
12 Exod. xxxii. 26.
13 Ps. cxlix. 6.
14 Luke xii. 46.
15 Ezek. xviii. 31.
16 Isai. vi. 3.
17 Ps. xxxvi. 9.
18 John i. 1.
19 Ib. x. 30.
20 John xiv. 23.
21 Josh. vii. 21.