« Hilarion (1), hermit of Palestine Hilarius (7) Pictaviensis, saint Hilarius Arelatensis, saint, bp. of Arles »

Hilarius (7) Pictaviensis, saint

Hilarius (7) Pictaviensis, St. (Hilary of Poictiers), d. a.d. 368.

Authorities.—(1) His own writings. These furnish so much information that the biography in the Benedictine ed. of Hilary's works is mainly drawn from them. (2) Hieron. de Viris Illustribus (seu Scriptorum Eccles. Catalogus), c.100. Also in Esaiam, c. lx., in Psalm. lviii. (A.V. lix.), in the prooemium in lib. ii. Comm. ad Gal. (3) St. Augustine, de Trinitate, lib. x. c. 6, lib. xv. c. 2. (4) Cassian, de Incarnatione, 474lib. viii. (5) St. Gregory of Tours, de Gloriâ Confessorum, c. 2. (6) Fortunatus, whose identification is uncertain. [FORTUNATUS (17) and (18).] (7) Cassiodorus, Institut. Divin. lib. i. c. 16.

Life.—Hilary is believed to have been born of illustrious stock in Poictiers. St. Jerome (in Gal.) distinctly asserts this, but some authorities name more vaguely the province of Aquitaine, rather than the capital. He enjoyed a good education in the Latin classics, and evidently was specially fond of the writings of Quintilian.

About a.d. 150, Hilary, then a married man but, it would seem, still young, appears to have become a Christian. He depicts himself as gradually rising first above the attractions of ease and plenty; then aiming at knowledge of truth and the practice of virtue. The books of Moses and the Psalms gave him abundant help in his desire to know God; in his consciousness of weakness the writings of apostles and evangelists aided him, more especially the Gospel of St. John, with its clear and emphatic teaching on the incarnation of the co-eternal Son. His conversion was essentially due to the study of Holy Scripture.

After his baptism he became an edifying example of a good Christian layman. He must have remained a layman for some few years. His wife's name is unknown, but a daughter, his only child, was called Abra (al. Apra seu Afra). About 353 the see of Poictiers became vacant by death. The popular voice fixed upon Hilary as the new bishop, and he was raised per saltum to the episcopate. He amply justified the choice.

Two years after his consecration a visit from St. Martin, which was regarded as a compliment to the orthodoxy and zeal of Hilary, proved a prelude to an active struggle against the Arian party in Gaul, then headed by Ursacius, Valens, and Saturninus, of whom Saturninus occupies, in the writings of the orthodox, an evil pre-eminence, being represented as immoral, violent, and apt to seek the aid of the civil power against the defenders of the creed of Nicaea. Hilary unites with Sulpicius Severus in censuring Saturninus more than his comrades. The course pursued by Ursacius and Valens, though less violent, was extremely fitful and uncertain, and a majority of the bishops of Gaul, led by Hilary, formally separated themselves from the communion of all three. Many even of those who had leant towards Arianism now threw in their lot with Hilary, who received them on condition that they should be approved by the confessors then suffering exile. At a council at Béziers, in Languedoc, Saturninus probably presiding, Hilary (with some other orthodox bishops) was present, but declares that he was refused a hearing. The emperor Constantius received from Saturninus an account of this gathering, and at once resolved to banish to Phrygia Hilary and one of his allies, St. Rhodanus, bp. of Toulouse. Hilary believed that the accusation laid against him before the emperor involved a charge of gross impropriety of conduct. As this event occurred soon after the council of Béziers and before that of Seleucia, its date is assigned to the middle of 356. During this exile of somewhat more than three years Hilary had a good deal of liberty and much enforced leisure. He employed it in examining the condition of religion in Asia Minor, forming an exceedingly unfavourable impression, especially as regarded his episcopate, and in composition and an attempt to remove misunderstandings, especially between the bishops of the East and those of Gaul; for the Gallicans imagined all in Asia to be sheer Arians, while the Orientals supposed their brethren in Gaul to be lapsing into Sabellianism. Hilary's treatise de Synodis belongs to this period (358 or 359) and also his great work de Trinitate.

The fourth year (359) of Hilary's exile witnessed the council of Rimini in the West and that of Seleucia in the East. The emperor apparently intended the decisions of these two assemblies, if accordant, to be conjointly regarded as the decree of one oecumenical council. Hilary was compelled by the secular authorities to attend that of Seleucia, Constantius himself having convoked it. He found there three sections: the orthodox, semi-Arian, and ultra-Arian or Anomoean. Although his presence was of great service in explaining the true state of things in Gaul, the language of the Acacians so shocked him that he retired from the assembly. These Anomoeans were nevertheless condemned there.

From Seleucia Hilary went to Constantinople and was granted an interview with the emperor. Here the Arians, having joined the Anomoeans, were in great force, and, having gathered another council in the Eastern capital, tried to reverse their failure at Seleucia. A challenge from Hilary to discuss the questions at issue publicly, in presence of the emperor, on the evidence of Holy Scripture, was, as he informs us, declined; and Constantius sent his prisoner back to Gaul, without formally annulling the sentence of banishment or allowing him perfect liberty. The energies of Hilary in Gaul were chiefly concerned with the Arians, but his acts (though by no means all his writings) in Phrygia with the semi-Arians. His attitude towards these two forms of error was by no means identical. Arianism he regarded as a deadly heresy, with which anything like compromise was impossible. But with semi-Arianism, or at any rate with certain leading semi-Arians, he thought it quite possible to come to an understanding; and it will be seen in the account of his works how earnestly he strove to act as a peacemaker between them and the supporters of the creed of Nicaea. The three succeeding years (a.d. 360–362) were partly occupied by his rather dilatory journey homeward, and after his return by efforts which, though of a conciliatory character, all aimed at the restoration of the faith as set forth at Nicaea. His joy at reaching Poictiers (where he was warmly welcomed) and at finding in health his wife, his daughter, and his disciple St. Martin, was dashed by the, scenes witnessed during his progress. Constantius had banished all bishops who had refused to accept the formula promulgated at Rimini (Socr. H. E. ii. 37; confirmed by Soz. iv. 19, and by St. Jerome in his treatise adv. Luciferianos). Hilary and his more ardent 475friends were not prepared at once to refuse communion to all who had been betrayed into accepting the Riminian decrees. He gathered in different parts of Gaul assemblies of bishops for mutual explanation, apparently with great success. Hilary's former opponent, Saturninus, bp. of Arles, vainly attempted to thwart this work, and Saturninus soon found himself deserted and practically, perhaps even formally, excommunicated by the Gallican episcopate.

Hilary now ventured, despite the unrepealed sentence of banishment, to journey into N. Italy and Illyria, to bring these provinces into spiritual conformity with Gaul. He arrived in Italy a.d. 362 and was greatly encouraged and assisted by St. Eusebius of Vercelli. These two friends, especially in remote districts, into which a fair statement of the points at issue had not penetrated, created a considerable impression, though not equal to that produced in Gaul. Possibly Lucifer of Cagliari proved an obstacle. That this ardent and ultra-Athanasian supporter of orthodoxy disapproved of one of the conciliatory manifestos of Hilary will be seen below; and as on another ground he had broken with Eusebius and was opposed to all communion with any who had accepted the decrees of Rimini, he could not have viewed their career with satisfaction.

Hilary, nevertheless, remained in Italy until the late autumn of 364. Valentinian, who became emperor in Feb. 364, found him at Milan in November. A serious altercation between Hilary and Auxentius, bp. of Milan, attracted his attention. The generally charitable tone adopted by Hilary towards his ecclesiastical opponents warrants our accepting his unfavourable report of Auxentius. According to Hilary, the profession of the creed of Nicaea made by Auxentius was thoroughly insincere, though he persuaded Valentinian that he was acting in good faith; and, as a natural result, Hilary was commanded to return to Gaul and at once obeyed, but to the bishops and the church at large made known his own convictions respecting the real character of the bp. of Milan.

Hilary spent more than three years at Poictiers after his return from Italy. These years, especially the last two, were comparatively untroubled. He died calmly on Jan. 13, 368, though in the Roman service-books his day is Jan. 14, so as not to interfere with the octave of the Epiphany.

Writings.—I. EXEGETICAL.—(1) Exposition of the Psalms (Commentarii in Psalmos).—The comments embrace Ps. i., ii.; ix.–xiii. (and perhaps xiv.); li.–lxix.; xci.–cl. (The numbers are the Vulgate reckoning, e.g. li. is lii., and lxix. is lxx. in A.V.) The treatment is not critical, but reveals a deeply sincere and high-toned spirit. Jerome's translation was yet to come when Hilary wrote. As was natural, he leant mainly and somewhat too confidently upon the LXX, but took full advantage of the comments of Origen. He seeks a via media between the literal sense, and that reference of everything to Christ which marks some later commentators, both patristic and medieval.

(2) Commentarii in Matthaeum.—This is the earliest gospel commentary in the Western church; all previous ones being either, like that of Origen, in Greek, or, if in Latin; only partial, as some tractates of St. Cyprian. In the next century the work of Hilary was somewhat overshadowed by the commentaries produced by the genius of St. Augustine and the learning of St. Jerome in the West, and by the eloquence of St. Chrysostom in the East. Although he may have made some use of the writings of Origen, there is much that is curious and sometimes acute as well as devout that seems to be really his own. Jerome and Augustine frequently quote it. It was probably composed before his banishment to Phrygia in 356.

On the expressions concerning divorce (Matt. v. 31, 32), Hilary regards Christian marriage as absolutely indissoluble. His endeavours to solve difficulties, such as that of the genealogies of our Lord, indicate a real willingness to face them and are not devoid of acuteness. On "the brethren of the Lord" Hilary uses the powerful argument that Christ would not have committed the Virgin Mother to the care of St. John if she had had children of her own, and he adopts the view, usually connected with the name of Epiphanius, that they were children of Joseph by a former wife.

Hilary's respect for the LXX led him to embrace the Alexandrian rather than the Palestinian canon of O.T. He occasionally cites some portions of the Apocrypha (as Judith, Wisdom, and Maccabees) as Scripture. He is earnest in urging the study of Scripture, and lays much stress on the need of humility and reverence for reading them with profit. Both the Word and the Sacraments become spiritual food for the soul.

II. DOGMATICAL.— Libri XII. de Trinitate.—For de Trinitate some copies read contra Arianos, others de Fide, and others some slight varieties of a like kind. But de Trinitate appears on the whole the most suitable; and as Hilary's is the most ancient extant exposition of St. Matthew by a Latin father, so the de Trinitate is the first great contribution, in Latin, to the discussion of this great dogma. Bk. i. treats of natural religion, and how it leads up to revelation. Bk. ii. especially discusses the baptismal formula (Matt. xxviii. 19); bk. iii. the union of the two natures in Christ; bk. iv. that this co-existence of two natures does not derogate from the unity of His Divine Person. Bk. v. urges, as against heretics, the testimony of the prophets (ex auctoritatibus propheticis) in favour of the propositions of bk. iv. Bk. vi. is mainly occupied with refutations of Sabellian and Manichean doctrines. Bk. vii. shews how the errors of Ebionites, Arians, and Sabellians overthrow each other, thus illustrating a principle asserted in bk. i. § 26: "Lis eorum est fides nostra." Bk. viii. contains a demonstration of the unity of God, and shews that it is nowise affected by the Sonship of Christ. Bk. ix. replies to the Arian appeal to certain texts, e.g. Mark xiv. 32, Luke xviii. 19, John v. 19, xiv. 28, xvii. 3. Bks. x. and xi. similarly discuss, e.g., Matt. xxvi. 38, 39, 46, Luke xxiii. 46, John xx. 17, and I. Cor. xv. 27, 28. Bk. xii. is also expressly written against Arianism. It included a passage of much beauty, which bears a slight resemblance to the devout and eloquent pleading of Wisd. ix: 476The work is a longer, more methodical, and more consecutive anti-Arian argument than Athanasius himself found time to indite. Viewed intellectually, it must perhaps be ranked above Hilary's commentary on Scripture. Its recognition of the rights of reason as well as of faith, combined with its sense of human ignorance and of our need of humility, its explanation of many difficulties and of the meaning of the terms employed; the endeavour (though not always successful) to adapt to his subject the imperfect medium of Latin, its many felicitous descriptions, both of the temper in which we ought, and the spirit in which we ought not, to approach the study of these mysteries; the mode of his appeals to Holy Scripture,—all form very striking features. The book evidently produced a great impression. A high compliment is paid it by the historian Socrates: "Both [i.e. Hilary and Eusebius of Vercelli] nobly contended side by side for the faith. Hilary, who was an eloquent man, set forth in his book the dogmas of the Homoousion in the Latin tongue . . . and powerfully confuted the Arian dogmas" (H . E. iii. 10). It marks an epoch in the history of dogmatic theology in the Western church. Its influence declined in the next century and throughout the earlier and later middle ages. About 416, some 56 years after its publication, the 15 books de Trinitate of the great bp. of Hippo appeared. St. Augustine became the doctor par excellence of the West, and the labours of Hilary, most effective at their appearance, became somewhat neglected and obscured. The errors of Pelagianism, perhaps some anticipations of Nestorianism, had certainly by the time of Augustine tended to bring into clearer relief some particular phases and elements of Christian doctrine. Development in this sense is fully recognized by the Lutheran Dorner and by the Anglican Prof. Hussey. Nor can it be called a novel theory. "By the very events," writes the historian Evagrius, "by which the members of the church have been rent asunder have the true and faultless dogmas (τὰ ὀρθὰ καὶ ἀμώμητα δόγματα) been the more fully polished and set forth, and the Catholic and apostolic church of God hath gone on to increase and to a heavenward ascent" (H. E. i. 11). "Many things," says Augustine himself, "pertaining to the Catholic faith, while in course of agitation by the hot restlessness of heretics, are, with a view to defence against them, weighed more carefully, 'understood more clearly, and preached more earnestly; and the question mooted by the adversary hath become an occasion of our learning."8686Dean Hook, in his University Sermons preached before 1838, called attention to this as a favourite opinion of St. Augustine's. Bp. Moberly, in his Discourses on the Great Forty Days (preface and discourse iv.) shewed the difference between this view and the modern Roman theory of development. The intentions of Hilary were so thoroughly good that both his studies of Holy Scripture and the influence of the three later oecumenical councils would doubtless have saved him from some serious mistakes, if he had lived to hear of their decisions. It is true, as the Benedictine editor points out, that Hilary's note upon Ps. liii. 8 condemns not only Apollinaris, but (by anticipation) Nestorius and Eutyches as well. Nevertheless, such mistakes as Hilary did make are all connected with the subject, which has been summed up in so masterly a manner by Hooker (E. P. bk. v. cc. lii.–liv., esp. § 10 of liv.), viz. the union of the two natures in the one divine personality of Christ. The chief of these mistakes are as follows: In de Trinitate, bk. x., Hilary seems to approach to a denial of the truth that the Incarnate Lord took man's nature from His Virgin Mother, of her substance. This is probably only an incautious over-statement of the article, "He was conceived of the Holy Ghost." For the language in other passages of this book and on Pss. cxxxviii. and lxv. implies a complete acceptance of the Homo ex substantiâ Matris. Some laxity of usage appears in regard to the terms Verbum and Spiritus. Certainly the former word seems necessary instead of the latter in the phrase (bk. x.) "Spiritus sanctus desuper veniens naturae se humanae carne immiscuit." Dom Coutant points out similar confusion of language in Tertullian and Lactantius, and even in St. Irenaeus and St. Cyprian. St. Gregory and St. Athanasius seem inclined to palliate it.

A more serious error is Hilary's apparent want of grasp of the truth of our Lord's humanity in all things, sin alone excepted. At times he seems to speak of our Lord's natural body as if endued with impossibility (indolentia), and of His soul as if not obnoxious to the human affections of fear, grief, and the like. This and the other mistakes of Hilary are more or less palliated by Lanfranc, by the two great schoolmen Peter Lombard and Aquinas, and by Bonaventure. Hilary also meets with indulgence from Natalis Alexander; and, above all, is defended by his Benedictine editor, Dom Coutant, who, as Cave justly remarks, "naevos explicare, emollire et vindicare satagit." A sort of tradition was handed down to Bonaventure by a schoolman, William of Paris, that Hilary had made a formal retractation of his error concerning the indolentia, which he had ascribed to our Lord. This seems very doubtful; nevertheless, the language of his later books, e.g. on the Pss., appears to recognize the reality of both the mental and bodily sufferings of Christ.

III. POLEMICAL.—(1) Ad Constantium Augustum Liber Primus.—This address, probably Hilary's earliest extant composition, is a petition to the emperor—evidently written before Hilary's exile, at the close of 355 or early in 356—for toleration for the orthodox in Gaul against the persecution of Arian bishops and laymen. These assaults Hilary represents as both coarse and cruel. He names some supporters of Arianism, both in the East and in Gaul. Among the latter, Ursacius and Valens occupy a painful prominence. He urges that it is even on political grounds a mistake for the emperor to allow such proceedings; among his Catholic subjects will be found the best defenders of the realm against internal sedition and barbarian invasion. The excellent tone of this address is admitted on all sides.

(2) Ad Constantium Augustum Liber Secundus.—This second address is subsequent to Hilary's exile, having been presented to the 477emperor in 360. Hilary protests his innocence of all charges brought against him. He is still in effect a bishop in Gaul, ministering to his flock through the clergy. He would gladly meet the man whom he regards as the author of his exile, Saturninus, bp. of Arles. He is anxious to plead for the faith in the council about to be summoned. He will argue from Holy Scripture, but warns the emperor that every heretic maintains his creed to be agreeable to Scripture. He is deeply conscious of the injury wrought to Christianity in the sight of the outer world by the distractions of so many rival councils and professions of faith.

(3) Contra Constantium Augustum Liber.—This book is addressed to the bps. of Gaul. Jerome is almost certainly mistaken in asserting its composition to be later than the death of Constantius. Internal evidence sufficiently confutes the idea, though its existence probably did not become widely known until after that event (361). Hilary's tone is now utterly changed. He has given up all hope of influencing Constantius. The emperor, too, on his side, has altered the traditional line of policy against opponents. He is here charged, not with persecution, but with the enticements of bribes, of good dinners, of flatteries and invitations to court. Hilary appears to have laid aside his usual self-restraint, perhaps to have lost his temper, and to have forgotten his usual respectfulness and charity of language. Constantius has become, in his eyes, an Anti-christ, who would fain make a present of the world to Satan. The entire letter shews that Hilary had lost all hope of any aid to the faith being granted by Constantius, and it is at least just to give its due weight to the remark of Mohler that, "if we drive men to despair, we ought to be prepared to hear them speak the language of despair."

(4) De Synodis Fidei Catholicae contra Arianos et praevaricatores Arianis acquiescentes; also occasionally referred to as de Fide Orientalium; and sometimes, though less frequently, as de Synodis Graeciae, or even simply as Epistola. Internal evidence furnishes a satisfactory approximation to the date of its composition, viz. in 358 or very early in 359. It is a letter from Hilary, an exile in Phrygia, to his brother-bishops in Gaul, who had asked for an explanation of the numerous professions of faith which the Orientals seemed to be putting forth. Hilary, although (as we have seen from his subsequent second letter to Constantius) deeply conscious of the harm wrought by these proceedings, wrote back a thorough Irenicon, for such must the de Synodis among all his writings be especially considered. Praising his Gallic brethren for firmness in opposing Saturninus and for their just condemnation of the second formula proposed at Sirmium, he desires that they and their brethren in Britain (provinciarum Britanniaram episcopi) should come to Ancyra or to Rimini in a conciliatory frame of mind. Just as the orthodox Homoousion may be twisted into Sabellianism, even so may the unorthodox. Homoiousion be found patient of a good interpretation. It may be shewn to those well disposed that, rightly understood, complete similarity in reality involves identity. The faith professed at Sardica was, he maintains, substantially sound. It asserted the external origin of the Son from the substance of the Father, and condemned the heresy of Photinus, "quae initium Dei filii ex partu Virginis mentiebatur." Hilary appeals to the more peace-loving among the semi-Arian bishops to accept both terms in their true sense. "Date veniam, Fratres, quam frequenter poposci. Ariani non estis; cur negando homoousion censemini Ariani?" (§ 88). Here comes in that remarkable statement, that he had never, before his exile, heard the Nicene Creed, but had made it out for himself from the Gospels and other books of N.T.

A peacemaker is often suspected on one side, sometimes upon both. His first letter to Constantius, his commentary on St. Matthew, his confessorship as shewn in his exile, did not save Hilary from suspicion. By some he was held to have conceded too much to the semi-Arians. This opinion was voiced by Lucifer of Cagliari, the earnest nut somewhat harsh-minded representative of that extreme wing which might be called more Athanasian than Athanasius. Some apologetic notes, shewing much courtesy and gentleness, appended by Hilary to a copy sent to Lucifer, were first published in the Benedictine ed. (Paris, 1693).

(5) Liber contra Auxentium.—Written a.d. 365, under Valentinian, who had become emperor in 366. Hilary was convinced that the profession of orthodoxy made by Auxentius was thoroughly insincere. The emperor accepted the position avowed by Auxentius; entered into communion with him, and ordered Hilary to leave Milan. Hilary obeyed at once, but, as the sole resource left him, published this address to the church at large. Hence its other titles, viz. contra Arianos vel Auxentium Mediolanensem, and Epistola ad Catholicos et Auxentium. It forms a curious commentary upon church history by bringing into vivid relief the utterly changed character of the temptations to which Christians were now exposed as compared with those of the ante-Nicene period. Hilary's view must be considered a rather one-sided one. He sees clearly the evils of his own day, but hardly realizes what must have been the trials of the times of Nero, Decius, and Galerius. The concluding part makes out a strong case against Auxentius. It is difficult to believe that he was not an Arian at heart. Hilary, like some of his contemporaries, declares that the ears of the people have become purer than the hearts of the bishops. He begs those who shrink from breaking off communion with Auxentius, whom he calls an angel of Satan, not to let their love of mere walls and buildings seduce them into a false peace. Antichrist may seat himself within a church; the forests and mountains, lakes and prisons, are safer. It must be remembered, in palliation of Hilary's strong language respecting the bp. of Milan, that he regarded him not as an open foe, but as a betrayer of truth by false pretences. Rufinus, who speaks of Hilary as a "confessor fidei Catholicae," entitles this work "librum instructionis plenissimae."8787Rufinus, de Adulteratione Librorum Origenis.

(6) Fragmenta Hilarii.—These fragments were first published in 1598 by Nicolaus Faber, who got them from the library of Father 478Pithou. They possess considerable value in the elucidation of the history of the period embraced by Hilary's episcopate. It is claimed that they are the remnants of a book by Hilary mentioned by Rufinus, and described by Jerome as Liber contra Valentem et Ursacium, which contained a history of the councils of Rimini and Seleucia. On this book Hilary expended much labour, having begun it in 360 and completed it in 366. The 15 fragments occupy some 80 folio pages. They are, with one exception, recognized as genuine by Tillemont and by Ceillier. Whether, however, all the other documents cited in these fragments can be depended upon has been disputed. Respecting the genuineness of the commentaries given by Dom Pitra, opinions may fairly differ; and happily there is in that case no disturbing influence at work as there is in the case of these fragments. If we accept them as authentic, the case against LIBERIUS is certainly darkened. But this is precisely the conclusion which certain modern critics (such as, e.g., the anonymous editor of Dom Ceillier) are for very obvious reasons most anxious to avoid.

(7) Epistola ad Abram Filiam suam (c. 358).—Hilary, during his exile, learnt that there was some prospect of his daughter Abra, though only in her 13th year, being sought in marriage. He draws a mystic portrait of the heavenly bridegroom, which is evidently intended to suggest the superiority of a religious celibacy, but leaves her an entirely free choice, only desiring that the decision should be really her own. He encloses a morning and an evening hymn. On any difficulties in the letter or the hymns, Abra is to consult her mother. The Hymnus matutinus, a very brief one, is still extant. The Hymnus vespertinus is more disputed, but Cardinal Mai makes a fair case for it, though it does not satisfy Dom Coutant and Dom Ceillier. Two other hymns by Hilary, commencing respectively "Hymnum dicat turba fratrum" (a hymn on the life of our Lord) and "Jesus refulsit omnium" (on the Epiphany) are given by Thomassy in his Hymnarium. Dom Pitra gives some verses of considerable beauty on our Lord's childhood, which seem to be Hilary's. The letter to Abra is considered doubtful by some critics, and rejected by Cave, but upon insufficient evidence.

The best ed. of Hilary is the Benedictine by Coutant (Paris, 1693), or its reprint with a few additions by Maffei (Verona, 1730). The de Trinitate is in Hurter's Ss. Pat. Opusc. (Innsbrück, 1888).

In conclusion, it must be observed that, though Hilary in his de Trinitate (lib. vi. 3638) speaks of Peter's confession as the foundation of the church, he, in other writings, more especially in his commentary on the Psalms, is inclined to make Peter himself, whom he terms caelestis regni janitorem, the foundation. In the fragmenta we find a letter from the fathers of Sardica to pope Julius, which certainly does refer to the Roman see as the head see. If Hilary approved of this document, he may very probably have allowed to Rome a primacy, at any rate, in the West. But this is a somewhat slender foundation to build a superstructure upon; and it is singular to find Ceillier's editor, in his anxiety to damage the authority of the fragmenta, somewhat injuring the credit of the only one brief sentence in the extensive works of Hilary which can be cited as a recognition, however indirect, of the Roman primacy (Ceillier, iv. p. 63, note). In practice Hilary did not often take his stand upon authority. The metropolitan see of Arles was in his time occupied by the Arian Saturninus, Hilary's chief opponent in his earlier day. He had not been long bishop when, by force of character, will, intellect, and confessorship, he came into the first rank of champions. The idea of controversy being settled by the fiat of any one bishop, whether of Rome or elsewhere, had never dawned upon his mind. No leave was asked when he descended into Italy to confront Auxentius. A cheap popular Life of Hilary of Poictiers, by J. G. Cazenove, is pub. by S.P.C.K. in their Fathers for Eng. Readers, and a selection of his works is in the Lib. of Nic. and Post Nic. Fathers. Cf. also an art. in Journ. of Theol. Stud. Apr. 1904, by A. J. Mason on "The First Latin Christian Poet."

[J.G.C.]

« Hilarion (1), hermit of Palestine Hilarius (7) Pictaviensis, saint Hilarius Arelatensis, saint, bp. of Arles »





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