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A history of the Christian councils: from the original documents, Volume 2 online

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decided follower of Christianity, was hardly i*aised to the
throne when he recalled S. Athanasius, whom Julian had again

' Sozom. iv. 27.

' Ibid, iv. 27 ; Sociat. ii. c. 88, 45. * BaoL M. Epist. 251, p. 888.

^[Valens succeeded Julian in 864, after the short intermediate reign of
JoYian. Arcadius became £mperor in 895.]



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282 HISTOBY OF THE COUNCILS.

banished ; ^ and, in order to win for himself a finn footing
amid the confusions of the Church, begged of him an explana-
tion in writing of the true faith held by the Church con-
cerning the Trinity. Upon this Athanasius immediately
sunmioned a large Synod at Alexandria, and composed by
its direction and in its name a Synodal Letter to the
Emperor, which we still possess, in which he commended to
him the Nicene as the true faith which from the beginning
had always been preached in the Church, and which even
now, notwithstanding the Arians, was almost universally
accepted ; so that the small number of its opponents could be
no argument against it. At the end, as a supplement to the
Nicene creed, which is itself given in the letter, the orthodox
doctrine concerning the Holy Ghost is very shortly appended,
i.e. that the Holy Ghost must not be separated from the
Father and the Son, and must together with them be glorified,
because there only is " fila Oeorq^ iv rg ayia rpiaSL*' *

When, forthwith, the various parties turned to the Emperor,
in order, if possible, to win him over to their side, and to
renew the game they had played so successfully with Con-
stantius, Jovian declared to the Macedonians that he had no
love for disputes, but rather desired peace, and that he pre-
ferred the Homolisian doctrine to all others.* Upon this,
Acacius of Caesarea, hitherto a most zealous Arian, who, how-
ever, would always be on the winning side, found it advisable,
with Meletius of Antioch and twenty-five other bishops, to

' When Athanasius was not only restoring peace among the Christians, but
also gaining over many heathens, the Emperor Julian declared that "he had
indeed aUowed the Galileans to return to their fatherland, but not to their
Churches (Sees), and was angered that Athanasius, that enemy of the gods,
who had so often been banished by the Emperors, should have dared without
special orders to return to Alexandria." Julian. JSp. vi. xxvL ; Theodoret,
nut. Eccl iii. 9.

' The Synodal Letter is given in Athanas. Opp, t. i. P. iL pp. 622 sqq. ed.
Patav. ; and Theodoret, iv. 8. In the latter place the letter has an additional
sentence, in which is expressed the hope that Jovian might long remain
Emperor. Baronius conjectured that the Arians had inserted this sentence for
the purpose of making Athanasius appear a false prophet But others think
that, as Jovian died so soon afterwards, the sentence in question was again
withdrawn. The Synodal Letter is also printed in Mansi, t iiL pp. 366 sqq. ;
and Hard. t. L p. 789 ; translated in Fuchs, Ic, p. 298.

* Socrat iii. 25.



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VALENTmiAN AND VALENS, ETC. 283

assemble a Synod at that city, and there in 363 formally to
sign and solemnly to acknowledge the Nicene creed. But in
order to leave a loophole for themselves, they inserted the
following sentence in their Synodal Letter to the Emperor
Jovian : " The word ofioovci^, which is strange to some, was
most carefully explained by the Fathers at Nicsea, and means
that the Son is bom of the substance of the Father, and is
in respect of substance similar to Him (ofioio^ xar' ov<riav)*'^
Clearly by this they intended somewhat to weaken and
Semi-Arianize the expression 6fjLoov<no<: ; and in fact Meletius
was suspected by many of equivocation on account of his
share in this matter.



Sec. 88. ValerUinian and Valens, The Synods at Zampsacus,
Nicomedia, Smyrna, Tyana, in Caria, etc. Temporary
Union of the Macedonians with the Orthodox,

To the great detriment of the orthodox cause, Jovian died
suddenly, probably by violence, on the 16 th February 364, in
the eighth month of his reign. Chiysostom affirms that he
was poisoned by his body-guard, while Ammianus Marcellinus
hints that he was suffocated in his bed. The military and
civil high officers now chose from among their number the
General Valentinian as Emperor, on the 26 th February 364,
and he immediately made his brother Valens co-Emperor and
ruler of the East Valentinian had already, under Julian the
Apostate, proved himself a zealous, and indeed orthodox
Christian, in preferring rather to give up his office and go into
prison, than forsake his faith. But his brother Valens held
Arian views; and while Valentinian displayed the utmost
tolerance towards the Arians, and even towards the heathen,
Valens emulated his predecessor Constantius in party spirit
and hatred of the orthodox, in which he was greatly influenced
by his wife and the well-known Arianizing Bishop Eudoxius
of Constantinople, who had baptized him.^

With the permission of the new Emperor Valens, the

' This Synodal Letter is given by Socrat iii. 25, and Sozom. Ti. 4 ; also
printed in Mansi, t iii. p. 870, and Hard. t. i. p.* 742.
s Theodoret, Hist. JScel. iv. 12.



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284 HISTORY OF THE COUNCILS.

Macedomans, under the presidency of Elensius of Cyzicus,
held a Synod in 365 at Lampsacus on the Hellespont, which
declared invalid what the Acacian Council at Constantinople
in 360 had decided, viz. the deposition of the Semi-Arians, as
well as the confession of faith of that Synod (identical with
that of Nice-Bimini) ; sanctioned the Semi-Arian formula,
ofioio^ Kar^ oxfciav\ renewed the confession of Antioch (m
EnccBniis), and pronounced Eudoxius and Acacius, the latter
of whom had already again returned to Arianism, deposed.^

The Macedonians then at once applied to Valens to obtain
the confirmation of their decrees ; but Eudoxius had already
gained his ear, and therefore, when the ambassadors from the
Synod came to him at Heraclea, he directed them to hold
communion with Eudoxius. When they opposed this, he
sent them into banishment, and gave away their Sees to the
followers of Eudoxius. Many other Semi-Arians shared the
same fate ; many were also fined, or tortured in various
ways.' The fate of the orthodox was still worse ; throughout
the East they were robbed of their Churches, and oppressed
by Valens in every possible way.* He sent almost all the
orthodox in the East into banishment^ especially S. Meletius
of Antioch, and S. Athanasius of Alexandria, while Basil the
Great only by peculiar circumstances escaped the same fate.
To what a height this storm of persecution rose, one out of
many examples will show. In order to put a limit to these
constant persecutions and acts of violence, eighty orthodox
ecclesiastics repaired to the Emperor at Kicomedia to entreat
him to pursue a milder policy. For this he condemned them
to banishment, and had them taken to a ship, which was to
convey them across the Black Sea into exile. He secretly,
however, gave orders that, when on the open sea, the ship's
crew should get into two boats, and set the ship on fire. In
this way the sea was to hide the shameful deed. But a
strong wind drove the ship into a port of Bithynia, where the
fire indeed destroyed it, with the eighty orthodox ecclesiastics,
but the crime was thus made known.^ This took place about

* Sosom. Ti 7 ; Socrat iy. 2, 8, 4.

' Sozom. ^c. ' Sozom. vi. 10 ; Socrat ir. 12.

* Socrat. iv. 16 ; Sozom. vi. 14 ; Theodoret, iy. 24.



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VALENTINIAN AND VALENS, ETC. 285

the year 370, some years after the Synods of which we are
now speaking.

Such a synod was assembled by the Empeior Yalens in 366,
during his presence at Nicomedia, with the object of bringing
Arianism still more into power. Eleusius of Cyzicus, who
was, as we know, one of the most distinguished Semi-Arians,
here allowed himself to be induced by threats to enter into
communion with Eudoxius. But he had hardly returned to .
his bishopric when he was seized with deep remorse, and
prayed that another bishop might be chosen in his stead, as
he had become unworthy. The people of his diocese, how-
ever, loved 'him too much to agree to this.^

In order to escape complete annihilation, the Macedonians,
or Semi-Arians (both names were at that time still used as
identical), held various Synods at Smyrna, Pisidia, Isauria,
Pamphylia, Lycia, and especially in Asia Minor, where they
decided to send deputies to the Western Emperor Valentinian,
and to Pope liberius, offering to unite with them in faith.
For this purpose they made choice of the Bishops Eustathius
of Sebaste, SUvanus of Tarsus, and Theophilus of Castabala
in Cilicia. When these arrived in Eome, Valentinian had
already departed for Gaul, where he had to carry on a war
against the barbarians. They did not meet him therefore,
neither would Pope Liberius at first receive them, as they
were Arians. They, however, declared that they had long
since returned to the right path, and recognised the truth.
Nay, they had already before condemned the doctrine of the
Anomoeans, and in declaring that '' the Son was similar to the
Father in all things," had in fact simply taught the 6fjLoov<ru)<;.
At the demand of the Pope, they handed in a written, con-
fession of faith, in which they solemnly assented to the
Nicene doctrine, and recited the Nicene creed word for word,
expressly dedaiing that the expression ofjMovaux: was chosen
" holily and piously " as opposed to the wicked doctrine of

^ Socrat. iv. 6 ; Sozom. tL 8. The farther statement of these two historians,
that Eunomius was then appointed bishop of Cyzicus by Eudoxios is incorrect.
The promotion of Eonomins took place at an earlier time ; in 866, however, he
was no longer in possession of the See of Cyzicus. Cf. Philostoig. y. 8, and
Theodoret, ii 27i 29, and the notes of Yaleaias on Socrat iv. 7.



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286 HISTORY OF THE COUNCILS.

Alius ; and they anathematized Aiins and his disciples, also the
heresy of the Sabellians, Patripassians, Marcionites, Photinians,
Marcellians (followers of Marcellxis of Ancyra), Paul of
Samosata, and especially the confession of Nice-Rimini.^

Upon this Pope liberius received the deputies of the Semi-
Arians into communion, and delivered to them in his own
name, and in that of the whole Western Church, a letter
addressed to those who had accredited them, ie. the fifty-nine
Eastern bishops, stating that, ''from the declarations of the
Easterns and their deputies, he saw that they agreed to his
faith, and that of the whole West, which was no other than
that of Nicaea, whose bulwark against all Arian heresies was
the formula ofioowrio^. To this faith nearly all those
Westerns had also returned, who at Rimini had been seduced
and forced into taking a false step/' '

It has surprised some that the simple acceptance of the
Nicene creed on the part of the Macedonians should have
given fuU satisfaction at Rome, notwithstanding that a new
heresy concerning the Holy Ghost had already been promul-
gated by them, which had not been foreseen in drawing up that
creed.' Pope Liberius, it was thought, should, under such
circumstances, have demanded from the Macedonians a renun-
ciation of this new heresy also; and this would certainly
have been necessary if this new doctrine had at that time
been as weU known at Rome as it was in the East This,
however, was not the case.

Upon the receipt of the Papal letter, the deputies from the
East at once repaired to Sicily, where they caused a S3mod
to be held, and here also made the Homolisian confession of
faith, and thereupon received from the Sicilian bishops a letter
similar to that from the Pope, with which they then returned
to their country.* It is not improbable that, on their journey
through the West, they met with Bishop Germinius of
Sirmium, one of the heads of the strictest Arians, and
brought him also much nearer to the orthodox faith. From

* Socrat iv. 12 ; Sozom. vi. 11.
» Socrat. iv. 12.

' Of. Schrockh, KircJiengesch, yoL xiL p. 81.

* Socrat. iy. 12.



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POPE DAMASUS AND HIS SYNODS, ETC. 287

tlds time forward he maintained decidedly the true
Divinity of the Son, similar to the Father in all things ; nor
did he aUow an Arian Synod, held at Singidunum in 367, to
frighten him out of so doing.^

After the arrival of the Eastern deputies in their country,
a Synod was assembled in 367, at Tyana in Cappadocia, at
which they solemnly delivered the letters and documents
they had brought with them. These were received with
great joy, and it was decided to impart them to the other
Eastern bishops, for which purpose it was proposed to hold a
great Synod at Tarsus in Cilicia, where the faith of Nicsea
should be universally accepted. But Valens forbade the
holding of such a Synod.*

Moreover, all the old Semi-Arians were by no means
inclined to accept the Nicene faith ; on the contrary, about
thirty-four of their bishops assembled at the same time in
Caria, where they indeed highly praised the efforts made for
unity, but still expressly rejected the 6/jboovaio<:, and declared
for the Antiochian formula (in Encceniis), the work of the
martyr Lucian.*



Sec. 89. Popt Bamams and his Synods. Death of
8. Athanasivs.

During these events Pope liberius died on the 23d or 24th
September 366 ; and as a quarrel had arisen at Bome among
the orthodox themselves, Damasus was chosen Pope by one
party, and TJrsinus or Ursicinus by the other. This occasioned
bloody contests between the two parties, which finally ended
with the victory of Damasus, while Ursinus with seven of
his followers was commanded by the Emperor to leave the
city on the 16th November 367. Being thus himself
firmly secured in his position, Damasus also thought of the
establishment of the Nicene faith;* and for this and other

* The documents referring to this are found in Hilar. Fragm, xiii. xv. p. 1859
sqq. ed. Bened.

* Socrat. iv. 12 ; Sozoni. vi. 12.
» Ibid, vi 12 ; cf. above, p. 77.

* Because of his exertions in this direction, the sixth general Synod says :
/iafuiff i k%ifUL% rns ^Urtmu Mansi, t. zi. p. 661 ; Hard, t iii. p. 1420.



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288 HISTORY OF THE COUNCILS.

purposes he held various Synods, of which only very imperfect
accounts, in some cases mere intimations, have reached
us.^ Of these assemblies, the first of importance was probably
held in 369, where the doctrine that the Father and the
Son are univs stibstantice, simvi et Spiritus Sanctvs, was
proclaimed. At the same time. Bishop Auxentius of Milan,
one of the chief supporters of the Arian cause in the West,
was anathematized.^ As, however, the Emperor Valentinian
always believed him to be orthodox,' he in fact remained in
possession of his See until his death in 374. But before him,
on the 2d May 373, S. Athanasius died,* the greatest cham-
pion of the Church in the Arian conflict ; and the Arians now
not only took possession of the See of Alexandria, but also
practised in the church of that place the most frightful crimes
and cruelties. Bishop Peter, the rightful successor of Athana-
sius, was obliged to fly, poor as a beggar ; his priests were
miserably hunted down, and whoever mourned them, whether
man or woman, was scourged; and the Arian Lucius was
raised to the See of Alexandria.*

Some months later, in 374, Pope Damasus held a second
important Eoman Synod, on account of the orthodox bishops
of the East having sent their ambassador Dorotheus with the
earnest request that the Latins would anathematize Eustathius
of Sebaste, and ApoUinaris of Laodicea, as the former had
relapsed into the Macedonian heresy (concerning the Holy
Ghost), and the latter had started a new heresy by calling
in question the perfect manhood of Christ, in opposition to
Arianism. The Roman Synod therefore renewed the con-

^ The chronological order of the Boman Synods held under Damasus is very
uncertain. After the example of Walch [Hist, der Kirchenvers. p. 213), we here
follow Merenda in his Oesta S, Damtui, Rome 1754.

' The original letter of the Synod in Latin is to be found in Hard. 1. 1. p. 77Z,
and Mansi, t. iiL p. 448 ; a Greek translation had been already given by Sozom.
iv. 23, and Theodoret, ii. 22. This Synod also published a Tome addressed to
the Orientals, which, besides the Synodal Letter just mentioned, contained some
other explanations concerning the faith, the rest of which are printed in lianai,
t. iii. pp. 459-462.

* Hilar. Pict. Contra Auxent. p. 1267, n. 7 sqq.

* See the preface to the newly-discovered FesUd Letters of S. AthanaAia^
I^rsow, Ix, p. 46,

* Cf. Schrockh, Kircliengesch, vol. xii. i>p. 41 sqq.



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SYNODS AT VALENCE IN 874, ETC. 289

fession of the Nicene faith, and fulfilled the wish of the
Orientals by tejecting, besides many other heretical views,
the false doctrine of the Macedonians and Apollinarians.^

Sec. 90. Synods at Valejice in 374, in Illyria and at Anjcyra
in 375, at Iconium and in Cappadocia.

In 374, some French bishops held a Synod at Valence,
which, however, took no part in the war of dogma which
agitated those times, but only laid down various rules of
discipline, which we find collected in Hardouin, and in a still
more complete form in Mansi.*

On the other hand, a great Illyrian Synod in 375, in its
circular to the Easterns, still extant, declared very decidedly
against the Pneumatomachian heresy, and commissioned the
priest Elpidius, whom they sent to the East with their Synodal
Letter, to make investigations concerning the faith of those
countries, and there to proclaim the truth. At the same
time, it laid down its rules concerning the appointment of
bishops, priests, and deacons, that they were to be chosen
from the clerical body, or from members of the higher magis-
tracy distinguished for their integrity, but not from the militaiy
or lower official class.*

The Emperor Yalentinian not only confirmed these decrees,
but also added a special letter to the bishops of Asia, with
the command that the Homousian belief in the Trinity should
be universally taught Herein it was also said that no one
in the East should make the excuse that he was following the
faith of his Emperor (Valens), for that would be an abuse of
the Imperial authority, rejection of Him who gave us the
teaching of salvation, and disobedience to the Scriptural com-
mand, " Render unto Csesar the things that are Casar's, and

' The rest of the acts are to be found in Mansi, t iiL pp. 481 sqq. ; also, in
Merenda, l.c. pp. 44, 202, who, at the same time, opposes the date of this Synod
accepted by Mansi.

• Hard. t. i p. 796 ; Mansi, t iii. pp. 491 sqq. We possess a special treatise
upon the Synod of Valence by Dr. Herbst, Professor at Tubingen, in the Tiibvng,
Theol Quartalachr. 1827, pp. 665 sqq.

" Theodoret, HUt. EccL iv. 9 ; Mansi, t. iii. p. 386 ; Hard. t. i. p. 794 ; cf.
Fuchs, BibUoth. der KirchenversammL vol. it pp. 878 sqq.

IL T



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290 BISTORT OF THE COUNCILS.

unto God the things that are God's." ^ Yet this polemical letter^
although plainly directed agaiost the Emperor Valens, bears the
names of Valens and Gratian after that of Valentinian, as the
Soman Emperors always followed the custom of adding the
name of the co-Emperor in all their edicts.' Bemi Ceillier '
has, as it seems to me rightly, shown that this lUyrian Synod
only took place in 375, and not, as Mansi believed, earlier.
Kot only does Theodoret place it after the elevation of S.
Ambrose to the See of Milan, but also the Emperor Yalentinian
spent the entire summer and autumn of the year 375 in
niyria, and the special interest which he took in this Synod
is accounted for by supposing that it was held during his
presence there. The early death of Valentinian, however, in
the same year 375, deprived Ms decree, so favourable to the
orthodox, of its eflScacy ; and the Arians, supported by the
Emperor Valens, at a Synod at Ancyrsi,, now deposed several
orthodox bishops, and amongst them S. Gregory of Nyssa.*

S. Basil only hints at other like Sjrnods of the Arians ; ^
but he also speaks of Syiiods of the orthodox, especially at
Iconium (about 376), at which Amphilochius, the bishop of
that city, presided, and where the orthodox doctrine of the
Trinity, as regards the Holy Ghost also, was laid down exactly
as Basil the Great had propounded it in his work on the
Holy Ghost. Nay, this very work of his was at this time
formally sanctioned and confirmed by a Synod in Cappadocia.*

Sec. 91. The Third and Fourth Soman Synods under Damasus,
Synods at Antioch, Milan, and Saragossa,

About the same time, at the third Boman Synod, under
Pope Damasus in 376, in which the banished Bishop Peter
of Alexandria took part, the Apollinarian heresy was again
anathematized, and deposition pronounced upon Apollinaria
and his two pupils, Timothy and Vitalis, the bishops of the
Apollinarians at Alexandria and Antioch.^

* Theodoret, lib, iv. c. 8 ; Mansi, t, iii. p. 90.

* Cf. Theodoret, Hist, JSccl, iv. 7, in fine, » Remi Ceillier, t. v. p. 609.

* Mansi, t. iii. p. 499 ; BasiL M. £p. 235 (cUiaa 264).

* BasQ, £p, 237. « Mansi, t iii. pp. 602, 506 sq.
' Sozom. vi. 25 ; Theodoret, v. 16 ; Merenda, Ic. pp. 58 sqq.



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THIRD AND FOUBTH ROMAN SYNODS UNDER DAMASUS, ETC. 291

Soon after this, in the battle at Adrianople against the Qoths
in 378, Valens lost bis throne and life ; and the young Gratian,
the eldest son of Valentinian, who had hitherto only reigned
in the West, became ruler of the whole Empire. Himself
belonging to the orthodox Church, immediately upon his
accession, in 378, he gave all his subjects religious liberty,
with the exception of the Manichseans, Photinians, and
Eunomians, and recalled all banished bishops to their
dioceses.^

Taking advantage of this tolerant edict of the Emperor, a
number of the Macedonians now again separated themselves
from the adherents of the Nicene faith, and, at a Synod at
Antioch in Caria in 378, declared in favour of the ''similarity
in substance," expressly rejecting the Nicene ofioova-uy:. But,
on the other hand, many other Macedonians only joined them-
selves the more closely to the orthodox Church.* Also, on
the orthodox side, no less than one hundred and forty-six
Oriental bishops assembled at Antioch on the Orontes, as
Gregory of Nyssa says,* in the ninth month after the death of
S. Basil the Great (in September 378), in order, on the one
hand, to put an end to the Antiochian schism among the
orthodox themselves (which attempt, however, was not then
successful), and, on the other, to take steps to assist the
Church in gaining the victory over Arianism. To this end,
the bishops at Antioch signed the Tome, published by the
Homan Synod in 369,^ under Damasus, thus making those
dogmatic declarations their own ; and also published a Synodal
Letter on their own accoimt to the bishops of Italy and Gaul,
which was first printed among the letters of S. Basil, and after-
wards also in the collections of the Councils.*

Some time later, in 380, Pope Damasus held his fourth
Boman Synod, which has been often (for instance, by Bemi
Ceillier*) wrongly divided into two Councils, because this

> Sociat. v. 2 ; Sozom. vii. 1 ; Theodoret, y. 2.

* Socrat V. 4 ; Sozom. vi. 2.

* Ep. ad Olymp. de Vita et OhUu 8. Macrinat,

* See above, pp. 287 sq. ; cf. Hard, t L p. 776 ; and Mansi, t iii. pp. 461 sq.,
where the signatures of the Antiochians are giren.

* Mansi, t. iii. p. 511 ; cf. the Notes of Valesins on Theodoret, ▼. 3.

* Remi CeiUier, Ic. pp. 621, 627.



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292 HISTORY OF THE COUNCILS.

assembly discharged two different functions, as on the one hand
it confirmed the elevation of Pope Damasus in opposition to
the pretender Ursicinus/ and on the other it dealt with the
great dogmatic question, and published a number of anathemas
against the Sabellians, Arians, Macedonians, Photinians, Mar-
cellians, and Apollinarians, etc.'

Lastly, in the same year we have to record two more
Synods ; one at Milan under S. Ambrose, which, however, did
not treat of any general affairs, but was only for the vindica-
tion of a yoimg Christian girl at Verona ;' and the somewhat
more important S}rnod at Saragossa in Spain.^ Sulpicius
Severus relates " that, on account of the Priscillianists at
Csesar Augusta (Saragossa), a S}rnod was held, consisting of
bishops of Spain and Aquitania. The heretics, although
invited, did not appear: the Synod nevertheless condemned
them, namely, the Bishops Instantius and Salvianus, and the



Online LibraryWilliam Robinson Clark Karl Joseph von HefeleA history of the Christian councils: from the original documents, Volume 2 → online text (page 29 of 50)