Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Title Page

Editorial Preface.

Select Writings and Letters


Prolegomena. Chapter I. Literature

1. Editions, &c. (A) Before 1601 only Latin translations. The first,

Section 2. Translations. The principal Latin versions have been referred to in §1. Of those in foreign languages it is not easy to procure adequate information. Fialon

Section 4. History of the Period

Section 5. History of Doctrine. For ancient sources see articles Heresiology and Person of Christ in D.C.B.

Chapter II.

Section 1. Early years, 298-319.

Section 2. The Arian Controversy before Nicæa, 319-325.

Section 3 (1) The Council of Nicæa.

Section 3 (2). The situation after the Council of Nicæa.

Section 4. Early years of his Episcopate. The Anti-Nicene reaction, 328-335.

Section 5. The Council of Tyre and First Exile of Athanasius, 335-337.

Section 6. Renewal of Troubles. Second Exile. Pistus and Gregory, Culmination of Eusebian Intrigue. Rome and Sardica. (337-346).

Section 7. The Golden Decade, 346-356.

Section 8. The Third Exile, 356-362.

Section 9. Athanasius under Julian and his successors; Fourth and Fifth Exiles. Feb. 21, 362, to Feb. 1, 366.

Section 10. Last Years, Feb. 1, 366-May 2, 373.

Chapter III. Writings and Personal Characteristics of S. Athanasius

Section 1. It will be attempted to give a complete list of his writings in

Section 2. Athanasius as an Author. Style and Characteristics.

Section 3. Personal characteristics (see Stanley's Eastern Church, Lect. vii.).

Chapter IV. The Theology of S. Athanasius

Section 1. General Considerations.

Section 2. Fundamental ideas of man and his redemption.

Section 3. Fundamental Ideas of God, the World, and Creation.

Section 4. Vehicles of Revelation; Scripture, the Church, Tradition.

Section 5. Content of Revelation. God Three in One and the Incarnation.

Section 6. Derivative Doctrines. Grace and the Means of Grace; The Christian Life; The Last Things.

Chapter V.

Section 1. Sources.

Section 2. Principles and Method.

Section 3. Applications.

I. General Chronological Table of the Life of S. Athanasius.

II. Synoptical Table of the Bishops of the Chief Sees.


Introduction to the Treatise

Against the Heathen.

Section 1. Introduction:--The purpose of the book a vindication of Christian

Section 2. Evil no part of the essential nature of things. The original creation and constitution of man in grace and in the knowledge of God.

Section 3. The decline of man from the above condition, owing to his absorption in material things.

Section 4. The gradual abasement of the Soul from Truth to Falsehood by the abuse of her freedom of Choice.

Section 5. Evil, then consists essentially in the choice of what is lower in preference to what is higher.

Section 6. False views of the nature of evil: viz., that evil is something in the nature of things, and has substantive existence. (a) Heathen thinkers: (evil resides in matter). Their refutation. (b) Heretical teachers: (Dualism). Refutation from Scripture.

Section 7. Refutation of dualism from reason. Impossibility of two Gods. The truth as to evil is that which the Church teaches: that it originates, and resides, in the perverted choice of the darkened soul.

Section 8. The origin of idolatry is similar. The soul, materialised by forgetting God, and engrossed in earthly things, makes them into gods. The race of men descends into a hopeless depth of delusion and superstition.

Section 9. The various developments of idolatry: worship of the heavenly bodies, the elements, natural objects, fabulous creatures, personified lusts, men living and dead. The case of Antinous, and of the deified Emperors.

Section 10. Similar human origin of the Greek gods, by decree of Theseus. The process by which mortals became deified.

Section 11. The deeds of heathen deities, and particularly of Zeus.

Section 12. Other shameful actions ascribed to heathen deities. All prove that they are but men of former times, and not even good men.

Section 13. The folly of image worship and its dishonour to art.

Section 14. Image worship condemned by Scripture.

Section 15. The details about the gods conveyed in the representations of them by poets and artists shew that they are without life, and that they are not gods, nor even decent men and women.

Section 16. Heathen arguments in palliation of the above: and (1) the poets are responsible for these unedifying tales.' But are the names and existence of the gods any better authenticated? Both stand or fall together. Either the actions must be defended or the deity of the gods given up. And the heroes are not credited with acts inconsistent with their nature

Section 17. The truth probably is, that the scandalous tales are true, while the divine attributes ascribed to them are due to the flattery of the poets.

Section 18. Heathen defence continued. (2) The gods are worshipped for having invented the Arts of Life.' But this is a human and natural, not a divine, achievement. And why, on this principle, are not all inventors deified?

Section 19. The inconsistency of image worship. Arguments in palliation. (1) The divine nature must be expressed in a visible sign. (2) The image a means of supernatural communications to men through angels.

Section 20. But where does this supposed virtue of the image reside? in the material, or in the form, or in the maker's skill? Untenability of all these views.

Section 21. The idea of communications through angels involves yet wilder inconsistency, nor does it, even if true, justify the worship of the image.

Section 22. The image cannot represent the true form of God, else God would be corruptible.

Section 23. The variety of idolatrous cults proves that they are false.

Section 24. The so-called gods of one place are used as victims in another.

Section 25. Human sacrifice. Its absurdity. Its prevalence. Its calamitous results.

Section 26. The moral corruptions of Paganism all admittedly originated with the gods.

Section 27. The refutation of popular Paganism being taken as conclusive, we come to the higher form of nature-worship. How Nature witnesses to God by the mutual dependence of all her parts, which forbid us to think of any one of them as the supreme God. This shewn at length.

Section 28. But neither can the cosmic organism be God. For that would make God consist of dissimilar parts, and subject Him to possible dissolution.

Section 29. The balance of powers in Nature shews that it is not God, either collectively, or in parts.

Part II.

Section 31. Proof of the existence of the rational soul. (1) Difference of man from the brutes. (2) Man's power of objective thought. Thought is to sense as the musician to his instrument. The phenomena of dreams bear this out.

Section 32. (3) The body cannot originate such phenomena; and in fact the action of the rational soul is seen in its over-ruling the instincts of the bodily organs.

Section 33. The soul immortal. Proved by (1) its being distinct from the body, (2) its being the source of motion, (3) its power to go beyond the body in imagination and thought.

Section 34. The soul, then, if only it get rid of the stains of sin is able to know God directly, its own rational nature imaging back the Word of God, after whose image it was created. But even if it cannot pierce the cloud which sin draws over its vision, it is confronted by the witness of creation to God.

Part III.

Section 36. This the more striking, if we consider the opposing forces out of which this order is produced.

Section 37. The same subject continued.

Section 38. The Unity of God shewn by the Harmony of the order of Nature.

Section 39. Impossibility of a plurality of Gods.

Section 40. The rationality and order of the Universe proves that it is the work of the Reason or Word of God.

Section 41. The Presence of the Word in nature necessary, not only for its original Creation, but also for its permanence.

Section 42. This function of the Word described at length.

Section 43. Three similes to illustrate the Word's relation to the Universe.

Section 44. The similes applied to the whole Universe, seen and unseen.

Section 45. Conclusion. Doctrine of Scripture on the subject of Part I.

Section 46. Doctrine of Scripture on the subject of Part 3.

Section 47. Necessity of a return to the Word if our corrupt nature is to be restored.

Introduction to the Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word.

On the Incarnation of the Word.

Section 1. Introductory.--The subject of this treatise: the humiliation and

Section 2. Erroneous views of Creation rejected. (1) Epicurean (fortuitous generation). But diversity of bodies and parts argues a creating intellect. (2.) Platonists (pre-existent matter.) But this subjects God to human limitations, making Him not a creator but a mechanic. (3) Gnostics (an alien Demiurge). Rejected from Scripture.

Section 3. The true doctrine. Creation out of nothing, of God's lavish bounty of being. Man created above the rest, but incapable of independent perseverance. Hence the exceptional and supra-natural gift of being in God's Image, with the promise of bliss conditionally upon his perseverance in grace.

Section 4. Our creation and God's Incarnation most intimately connected. As by the Word man was called from non-existence into being, and further received the grace of a divine life, so by the one fault which forfeited that life they again incurred corruption and untold sin and misery filled the world.

Section 5. For God has not only made us out of nothing; but He gave us freely

Section 6. The human race then was wasting

Section 7. On the other hand there was the consistency of God's nature

Section 8. The Word, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present ; and saw all these evils. He takes a body of our Nature, and that of a spotless Virgin, in whose womb He makes it His own, wherein to reveal Himself, conquer death, and restore life.

Section 9. The Word, since death alone could stay the plague, took a mortal body which, united with Him, should avail for all, and by partaking of His immortality stay the corruption of the Race. By being above all, He made His Flesh an offering for our souls; by being one with us all, he clothed us with immortality. Simile to illustrate this.

Section 10. By a like simile, the reasonableness of the work of redemption is shewn. How Christ wiped away our ruin, and provided its antidote by His own teaching. Scripture proofs of the Incarnation of the Word, and of the Sacrifice He wrought.

Section 11. Second reason for the Incarnation. God

Section 12. For though man was created in grace, God, foreseeing his forgetfulness, provided also the works of creation to remind man of him. Yet further, He ordained a Law and Prophets, whose ministry was meant for all the world. Yet men heeded only their own lusts.

Section 13. Here again

Section 14. A portrait once effaced must be restored from the original. Thus the Son of the Father came to seek

Section 15. Thus the Word condescended to man's engrossment in corporeal things, by even taking a body. All man's superstitions He met halfway; whether men were inclined to worship Nature, Man, Demons, or the dead, He shewed Himself Lord of all these.

Section 16. He came then to attract man's sense-bound attention to Himself as man, and so to lead him on to know Him as God.

Section 17. How the Incarnation did not limit the ubiquity of the Word, nor diminish His Purity. (Simile of the Sun.)

Section 18. How the Word and Power of God works in His human actions: by casting out devils, by Miracles, by His Birth of the Virgin.

Section 19. Man, unmoved by nature, was to be taught to know God by that sacred Manhood, Whose deity all nature confessed, especially in His Death.

Section 20. None

Section 21. Death brought to nought by the death of Christ. Why then did not Christ die privately, or in a more honourable way? He was not subject to natural death, but had to die at the hands of others. Why then did He die? Nay but for that purpose He came, and but for that, He could not have risen.

Section 22. But why did He not withdraw His body from the Jews

Section 23. Necessity of a public death for the doctrine of the Resurrection.

Section 24. Further objections anticipated. He did not choose His manner of death; for He was to prove Conqueror of death in all or any of its forms: (simile of a good wrestler). The death chosen to disgrace Him proved the Trophy against death: moreover it preserved His body undivided.

Section 25. Why the Cross, of all deaths? (1) He had to bear the curse for us. (2) On it He held out His hands to unite all, Jews and Gentiles, in Himself. (3) He defeated the "Prince of the powers of the air" in His own region, clearing the way to heaven and opening for us the everlasting doors.

Section 26. Reasons for His rising on the Third Day. (1) Not sooner for else His real death would be denied, nor (2) later; to (a) guard the identity of His body, (b) not to keep His disciples too long in suspense, nor (c) to wait till the witnesses of His death were dispersed, or its memory faded.

Section 27. The change wrought by the Cross in the relation of Death to Man.

Section 28. This exceptional fact must be tested by experience. Let those who doubt it become Christians.

Section 29. Here then are wonderful effects, and a sufficient cause, the Cross, to account for them, as sunrise accounts for daylight.

Section 30. The reality of the resurrection proved by facts: (1) the victory over death described above: (2) the Wonders of Grace are the work of One Living, of One who is God: (3) if the gods be (as alleged) real and living, a fortiori He Who shatters their power is alive.

Section 31. If Power is the sign of life, what do we learn from the impotence of idols, for good or evil, and the constraining power of Christ and of the Sign of the Cross? Death and the demons are by this proved to have lost their sovereignty. Coincidence of the above argument from facts with that from the Personality of Christ.

Section 32. But who is to see Him risen, so as to believe? Nay, God is ever invisible and known by His works only: and here the works cry out in proof. If you do not believe, look at those who do, and perceive the Godhead of Christ. The demons see this, though men be blind. Summary of the argument so far.

Section 33. Unbelief of Jews and scoffing of Greeks. The former confounded by their own Scriptures. Prophecies of His coming as God and as Man.

Section 34. Prophecies of His passion and death in all its circumstances.

Section 35. Prophecies of the Cross. How these prophecies are satisfied in Christ alone.

Section 36. Prophecies of Christ's sovereignty, flight into Egypt, &c.

Section 37. Psalm xxii. 16, &c. Majesty of His birth and death. Confusion of oracles and demons in Egypt.

Section 38. Other clear prophecies of the coming of God in the flesh. Christ's miracles unprecedented.

Section 39. Do you look for another? But Daniel foretells the exact time. Objections to this removed.

Section 40. Argument (1) from the withdrawal of prophecy and destruction of Jerusalem, (2) from the conversion of the Gentiles, and that to the God of Moses. What more remains for the Messiah to do, that Christ has not done?

Section 41. Answer to the Greeks. Do they recognise the Logos? If He manifests Himself in the organism of the Universe, why not in one Body? for a human body is a part of the same whole.

Section 42. His union with the body is based upon His relation to Creation as a whole. He used a human body, since to man it was that He wished to reveal Himself.

Section 43. He came in human rather than in any nobler form, because (I) He came to save, not to impress ; (2) man alone of creatures had sinned. As men would not recognise His works in the Universe, He came and worked among them as Man; in the sphere to which they had limited themselves.

Section 44. As God made man by a word

Section 45. Thus once again every part of creation manifests the glory of God. Nature, the witness to her Creator, yields (by miracles) a second testimony to God Incarnate. The witness of Nature, perverted by man's sin, was thus forced back to truth. If these reasons suffice not, let the Greeks look at facts.

Section 46. Discredit, from the date of the Incarnation, of idol-cultus, oracles, mythologies, demoniacal energy, magic, and Gentile philosophy. And whereas the old cults were strictly local and independent, the worship of Christ is catholic and uniform.

Section 47. The numerous oracles

Section 48. Further facts. Christian continence of virgins and ascetics. Martyrs. The power of the Cross against demons and magic. Christ by His Power shews Himself more than a man, more than a magician, more than a spirit. For all these are totally subject to Him. Therefore He is the Word of God.

Section 49. His Birth and Miracles. You call Asclepius, Heracles, and Dionysus gods for their works. Contrast their works with His, and the wonders at His death, &c.

Section 50. Impotence and rivalries of the Sophists put to shame by the Death of Christ. His Resurrection unparalleled even in Greek legend.

Section 51. The new virtue of continence. Revolution of Society, purified and pacified by Christianity.

Section 52. Wars, &c., roused by demons, lulled by Christianity.

Section 53. The whole fabric of Gentilism levelled at a blow by Christ secretly addressing the conscience of Man.

Section 54. The Word Incarnate, as is the case with the Invisible God, is known to us by His works. By them we recognise His deifying mission. Let us be content to enumerate a few of them, leaving their dazzling plentitude to him who will behold.

Section 55. Summary of foregoing. Cessation of pagan oracles, &c.: propagation of the faith. The true King has come forth and silenced all usurpers.

Section 56. Search then, the Scriptures, if you can, and so fill up this sketch. Learn to look for the Second Advent and Judgment.

Section 57. Above all, so live that you may have the right to eat of this tree of knowledge and life, and so come to eternal joys. Doxology.

Depositio Arii.

Deposition of Arius.

Epistola Eusebii.

Council of Nicæa.

Excursus A.

Introduction to Expositio Fidei.

Statement of Faith.

Introduction to In Illud Omnia,' Etc.

On Luke X. 22 (Matt. XI. 27).

Section 1. This text refers not to the eternal Word but to the Incarnate.

Section 2. Sense in which, and end for which all things were delivered to the Incarnate Son.

Section 3. By all things' is meant the redemptive attributes and power of Christ.

Section 4. The text John xvi. 15, shews clearly the essential relation of the Son to the Father.

Section 5. The same text further explained.

Section 6. The Trisagion wrongly explained by Arians. Its true significance.

Introduction to the Encyclical Epistle to the Bishops Throughout the World.

Circular Letter.

Section 1. The whole Church affected by what has occurred.

Section 2. Violent and Uncanonical Intrusion of Gregory.

Section 3. Outrages which took place at the time of Gregory's arrival.

Section 4. Outrages on Good Friday and Easter Day, 339.

Section 5. Retirement of Athanasius, and tyranny of Gregory and Philagrius.

Section 6. All the above illegalities were carried on in the interest of Arianism.

Section 7. Appeal to the bishops of the whole Church to unite against Gregory.

Introduction to Apologia Contra Arianos.

Defence Against the Arians.

Chapter II.--Letter of Julius to the Eusebians at Antioch.

Chapter III.--Letters of the Council of Sardica to the Churches of Egypt and of Alexandria, and to all Churches.

Chapter IV.--Imperial and Ecclesiastical Acts in Consequence of the Decision of the Council of Sardica.

Part II.

Chapter VI.--Documents connected with the Council of Tyre.

Additional Note on Apol. C. Arianos, §50.

Introduction to de Decretis or Defence of the Nicene Definition.

De Decretis or Defence of the Nicene Definition

Chapter II.--Conduct of the Arians towards the Nicene Council. Ignorant as well as irreligious to attempt to reverse an Ecumenical Council: proceedings at Nicæa: Eusebians then signed what th

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