21. Constantius’ change of mind
And now the Emperor Constantius, feeling some compunctions, returned to himself; and concluding from their conduct towards Euphrates, that their attacks upon the others were of the same kind, he gives orders that the Presbyters and Deacons who had been banished from Alexandria into Armenia should immediately be released. He also writes publicly to Alexandria , commanding that the clergy and laity who were friends of Athanasius should suffer no further persecution. And when Gregory died about ten months after, he sends for Athanasius with every mark of honour, writing to him no less than three times a very friendly letter in which he exhorted him to take courage and come. He sends also a Presbyter and a Deacon, that he may be still further encouraged to return; for he thought that, through alarm at what had taken place before, I did not care to return. Moreover he writes to his brother Constans, that he also would exhort me to return. And he affirmed that he had been expecting Athanasius a whole year, and that he would not permit any change to be made, or any ordination to take place, as he was preserving the Churches for Athanasius their Bishop.
22. Athanasius visits Constantius
When therefore he wrote in this strain, and encouraged him by means of many (for he caused Polemius, Datianus, Bardion, Thalassus , Taurus , and Florentius, his Counts, in whom Athanasius could best confide, to write also): Athanasius committing the whole matter to God, who had stirred the conscience of Constantius to do this, came with his friends to him; and he gave him a favourable audience , and sent him away to go to his country and his Churches, writing at the same time to the magistrates in the several places, that whereas he had before commanded the ways to be guarded, they should now grant him a free passage. Then when the Bishop complained of the sufferings he had undergone, and of the letters which the Emperor had written against him, and besought him that the false accusations against him might not be revived by his enemies after his departure, saying , ‘If you please, summon these persons; for as far as we are concerned they are at liberty to stand forth, and we will expose their conduct;’ he would not do this, but commanded that whatever had been before slanderously written against him should all be destroyed and obliterated, affirming that he would never again listen to any such accusations, and that his purpose was fixed and unalterable. This he did not simply say, but sealed his words with oaths, calling upon God to be witness of them. And so encouraging him with many other words, and desiring him to be of good courage, he sends the following letters to the Bishops and Magistrates.
23. Constantius Augustus, the Great, the Conqueror, to the Bishops and Clergy of the Catholic Church.
The most Reverend Athanasius has not been deserted by the grace of God , etc.
From Constantius to the people of Alexandria.
Desiring as we do your welfare in all respects , etc.
Constantius Augustus, the Conqueror, to Nestorius, Prefect of Egypt.
It is well known that an order was heretofore given by us, and that certain documents are to be found prejudicial to the estimation of the most reverend Bishop Athanasius; and that these exist among the Orders of your worship. Now we desire your Sobriety, of which we have good proof, to transmit to our Court, in compliance with this our order, all the letters respecting the fore-mentioned person, which are found in your Order-book.
24. The following is the letter which he wrote after the death of the blessed Constans. It was written in Latin, and is here translated into Greek.
Constantius Augustus, the Conqueror, to Athanasius.
It is not unknown to your Prudence, that it was my constant prayer, that prosperity might attend my late brother Constans in all his undertakings; and your wisdom may therefore imagine how greatly I was afflicted when I learned that he had been taken off by most unhallowed hands. Now whereas there are certain persons who at the present truly mournful time are endeavouring to alarm you, I have therefore thought it right to address this letter to your Constancy, to exhort you that, as becomes a Bishop, you would teach the people those things which pertain to the divine religion, and that, as you are accustomed to do, you would employ your time in prayers together with them, and not give credit to vain rumours, whatever they may be. For our fixed determination is, that you should continue, agreeably to our desire, to perform the office of a Bishop in your own place. May Divine Providence preserve you, most beloved parent, many years.
25. Return of Athanasius from second exile
Under these circumstances, when they had at length taken their leave, and begun their journey, those who were friendly rejoiced to see a friend; but of the other party, some were confounded at the sight of him; others not having the confidence to appear, hid themselves; and others repented of what they had written against the Bishop. Thus all the Bishops of Palestine , except some two or three, and those men of suspected character, so willingly received Athanasius, and embraced communion with him, that they wrote to excuse themselves, on the ground that in what they had formerly written, they had acted, not according to their own wishes, but by compulsion. Of the Bishops of Egypt and the Libyan provinces, of the laity both of those countries and of Alexandria, it is superfluous for me to speak. They all ran together, and were possessed with unspeakable delight, that they had not only received their friends alive contrary to their hopes; but that they were also delivered from the heretics who were as tyrants and as raging dogs towards them. Accordingly great was their joy , the people in the congregations encouraging one another in virtue. How many unmarried women, who were before ready to enter upon marriage, now remained virgins to Christ! How many young men, seeing the examples of others, embraced the monastic life! How many fathers persuaded their children, and how many were urged by their children, not to be hindered from Christian asceticism! How many wives persuaded their husbands, and how many were persuaded by their husbands, to give themselves to prayer 1 Corinthians 7:5, as the Apostle has spoken! How many widows and how many orphans, who were before hungry and naked, now through the great zeal of the people, were no longer hungry, and went forth clothed! In a word, so great was their emulation in virtue, that you would have thought every family and every house a Church, by reason of the goodness of its inmates, and the prayers which were offered to God. And in the Churches there was a profound and wonderful peace, while the Bishops wrote from all quarters, and received from Athanasius the customary letters of peace.
26. Recantation of Ursacius and Valens
Moreover Ursacius and Valens, as if suffering the scourge of conscience, came to another mind, and wrote to the Bishop himself a friendly and peaceable letter , although they had received no communication from him. And going up to Rome they repented, and confessed that all their proceedings and assertions against him were founded in falsehood and mere calumny. And they not only voluntarily did this, but also anathematized the Arian heresy, and presented a written declaration of their repentance, addressing to the Bishop Julius the following letter in Latin, which has been translated into Greek. The copy was sent to us in Latin by Paul , Bishop of Treveri.
Translation from the Latin.
Ursacius and Valens to my Lord the most blessed Pope Julius.
Whereas it is well known that we , etc.
Translation from the Latin.
The Bishops Ursacius and Valens to my Lord and Brother, the Bishop Athanasius.
Having an opportunity of sending , etc.
After writing these, they also subscribed the letters of peace which were presented to them by Peter and Irenæus, Presbyters of Athanasius, and by Ammonius a layman, who were passing that way, although Athanasius had sent no communication to them even by these persons.
27. Triumph of Athanasius
Now who was not filled with admiration at witnessing these things, and the great peace that prevailed in the Churches? Who did not rejoice to see the concord of so many Bishops? Who did not glorify the Lord, beholding the delight of the people in their assemblies? How many enemies repented! How many excused themselves who had formerly accused him falsely! How many who formerly hated him, now showed affection for him! How many of those who had written against him, recanted their assertions? Many also who had sided with the Arians, not through choice but by necessity, came by night and excused themselves. They anathematized the heresy, and besought him to pardon them, because, although through the plots and calumnies of these men they appeared bodily on their side, yet in their hearts they held communion with Athanasius, and were always with him. Believe me, this is true.
28. Second ArianPersecution under Constantius
But the inheritors of the opinions and impiety of Eusebius and his fellows, the eunuch Leontius , who ought not to remain in communion even as a layman , because he mutilated himself that he might henceforward be at liberty to sleep with one Eustolium, who is a wife as far as he is concerned, but is called a virgin; and George and Acacius, and Theodorus, and Narcissus, who are deposed by the Council; when they heard and saw these things, were greatly ashamed. And when they perceived the unanimity and peace that existed between Athanasius and the Bishops (they were more than four hundred , from great Rome, and all Italy, from Calabria, Apulia, Campania, Bruttia, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the whole of Africa; and those from Gaul, Britain, and Spain, with the great Confessor Hosius; and also those from Pannonia, Noricum, Siscia, Dalmatia, Dardania, Dacia, Mœsia, Macedonia, Thessaly, and all Achaia, and from Crete, Cyprus, and Lycia, with most of those from Palestine, Isauria, Egypt, the Thebais, the whole of Libya, and Pentapolis); when I say they perceived these things, they were possessed with envy and fear; with envy, on account of the communion of so many together; and with fear, lest those who had been entrapped by them should be brought over by the unanimity of so great a number, and henceforth their heresy should be triumphantly exposed, and everywhere proscribed.
然而优西比乌和他的跟随者之观念与不敬虔的继承人，太监李安迪，不甘心身为平信徒，他威力能够自由的与Eustolium入寝而自阉，这位号称仍是处女的女子对他而言乃是妻子；已经乔治，Acacius，Theosorus，和Narcissus，他们是被大会放逐的人；当他们听见并看见这样的事情，就大大的羞愧。当他们意识到在亚他那修和众主教（他们超过400位，分别来自伟大的罗马和全意大利，从Calabria, Apulia, Campania, Bruttia, 西西里，Sardinia, Corsica和全非洲；已经那些来自高卢，不列颠和西班牙，包括伟大的认信者Hosius；以及那些来自Pannonia, Noricum, Siscia, Dalmatia, Darania, Dacia,Moesia, 马其顿，Thessaly和Achaia全地，以及从克里特，塞卢普斯，和Lycia，以及从巴勒斯坦，Isauria，埃及和Thebais来的大部分主教，以及全部来自利比亚和Pentapolis的主教）间的一致与和平时，当我说他们意识到那些事情时，他们又嫉妒，又恐惧；他们因着这么多主教同有的交通而嫉妒；他们恐惧那些被他们陷害的人被大量的带入和谐一致中，使得他们的异端被以一种胜利的方式曝露，诏告天下。
29. Relapse of Ursacius and Valens
First of all they persuade Ursacius, Valens and their fellows to change sides again, and like dogs to return to their own vomit, and like swine to wallow again in the former mire of their impiety; and they make this excuse for their retractation, that they did it through fear of the most religious Constans. And yet even had there been cause for fear, yet if they had confidence in what they had done, they ought not to have become traitors to their friends. But when there was no cause for fear, and yet they were guilty of a lie, are they not deserving of utter condemnation? For no soldier was present, no Palatine or Notary had been sent, as they now send them, nor yet was the Emperor there, nor had they been invited by any one, when they wrote their recantation. But they voluntarily went up to Rome, and of their own accord recanted and wrote it down in the Church, where there was no fear from without, where the only fear is the fear of God, and where every one has liberty of conscience. And yet although they have a second time become Arians, and then have devised this unseemly excuse for their conduct, they are still without shame.
30. Constantius changes sides again
In the next place they went in a body to the Emperor Constantius, and besought him, saying, ‘When we first made our request to you, we were not believed; for we told you, when you sent for Athanasius, that by inviting him to come forward, you are expelling our heresy. For he has been opposed to it from the very first, and never ceases to anathematize it. He has already written letters against us into all parts of the world, and the majority of men have embraced communion with him; and even of those who seemed to be on our side, some have been gained over by him, and others are likely to be. And we are left alone, so that the fear is, lest the character of our heresy become known, and henceforth both we and you gain the name of heretics. And if this come to pass, you must take care that we be not classed with the Manichæans. Therefore begin again to persecute, and support the heresy, for it accounts you its king.’ Such was the language of their iniquity. And the Emperor, when in his passage through the country on his hasty march against Magnentius , he saw the communion of the Bishops with Athanasius, like one set on fire, suddenly changed his mind, and no longer remembered his oaths, but was alike forgetful of what he had written and regardless of the duty he owed his brother. For in his letters to him, as well as in his interview with Athanasius, he took oaths that he would not act otherwise than as the people should wish, and as should be agreeable to the Bishops. But his zeal for impiety caused him at once to forget all these things. And yet one ought not to wonder that after so many letters and so many oaths Constantius had altered his mind, when we remember that Pharaoh of old, the tyrant of Egypt, after frequently promising and by that means obtaining a remission of his punishments, likewise changed, until he at last perished together with his associates.