Life And Writings Of Sulpitius Severus by Sulpitius Severus
Chapter XXXIX. From this first proof that the prince had been won over to their side√†
From this first proof that the prince had been won over to their side, the Arians plucked up their courage, knowing that they could make use of the power of the king, when they could make little impression by their own authority. Accordingly, when our friends did not accept of the judgment which they had pronounced in regard to Athanasius, an edict was issued by the emperor to the effect that those who did not subscribe to the condemnation of Athanasius should be sent into banishment. But, at that time, councils of bishops were held by our friends at Arles and Bitter√¶, towns situated in Gaul. They requested that before any were compelled to subscribe against Athanasius, they should rather enter on a discussion as to the true faith; and maintained that only then was a decision to be come to respecting the point in question, when they had agreed as to the person of the judges. But Valens and his confederates not venturing on a discussion respecting the faith, first desired to secure by force the condemnation of Athanasius. Owing to this conflict of parties, Paulinus was driven into banishment. In the meantime, an assembly was held at Milan, where the emperor then was; but the same controversy was there continued without any relaxation of its bitterness. Then Eusebius, bishop of the Vercellenses, and Lucifer, bishop of Caralis in Sardinia, were exiled. Dionysius, however, priest of Milan, subscribed to the condemnation of Athanasius, on the condition that there should be an investigation among the bishops as to the true faith. But Valens and Ursatius, with the rest of that party, through fear of the people, who maintained the Catholic faith with extraordinary enthusiasm, did not venture to set forth in public their monstrous doctrines, but assembled within the palace. From that place, and under the name of the emperor, they issued a letter full of all sorts of wickedness, with this purpose, no doubt, that, if the people gave it a favorable hearing, they should then bring forward, under public authority, the things which they desired; but if it should be received otherwise, that all the ill feeling might be directed against the king, while his mistake might be regarded as excusable, because being then only a catechumen, he might readily be supposed to have erred concerning the mysteries of the faith. Well, when the letter was read in the church, the people expressed their aversion to it. And Dionysius, because he did not concur with them, was banished from the city, while Auxentius was immediately chosen as bishop in his place. Liberius, too, bishop of the city of Rome, and Hilarius, bishop of Poictiers, were driven into exile. Rhodanius, also, bishop of Toulouse (who, being by nature of a softer disposition, had resisted the Arians, not so much from his own powers as from his fellowship with Hilarius) was involved in the same punishment. All these persons, however, were prepared to suspend Athanasius from communion, only in order that an inquiry might be instituted among the bishops as to the true faith. But it seemed best to the Arians to withdraw the most celebrated men from the controversy. Accordingly, those whom we have mentioned above were driven into exile, forty-five years ago, when Arbitio and Lollianus were consuls. Liberius, however, was, a little afterwards, restored to the city, in consequence of the disturbances at Rome. But it is well known that the persons exiled were celebrated by the admiration of the whole world, and that abundant supplies of money were collected to meet their wants, while they were visited by deputies of the Catholic people from almost all the provinces.