Faustus Reiensis or Rhegiensis

Faustus Reiensis Or Rhegiensis (of Rhegium, or Riez, in Provence), so called from the diocese over which he presided, a pious and self-sacrificing prelate, although doctrinally he favored Semi-Pelagianism. He was boric in Britain about the beginning of the fifth century, and became a monk of Lerins. When Maximus was made bishop of Rhegium, Faustus succeeded him in his abbacy of Lerins, and succeeded him again as bishop on his death, A.D. 454. He was present at the Council held under Hilary at Rome, 462, and returned in 484 to his diocese, where he died about 485. He wrote

(1) De Gratia Dei et humanae mentis libero arbitrio (On Grace and Free- will) (Bib. Max. Patr., viii). In this treatise he opposes absolute predestination, but admits original sin and the necessity of grace to assist man's nature, but denies that grace is confined in its saving influences to a few, or that original sin is entirely destructive of every good, so as to leave man "a mass of corruption." He also shows that God's foreknowledge does not affect the -salvation or condemnation of any, and interprets the various texts of Scripture Which refer to the matter.

(2) Professio Fidei (A Confession of Faith) (Bib. Max. Patr. viii), directed against the doctrines of predestination and fate, addressed to Leontius bishop of Arles. This is a recapitulation of his treatise De Gratia.

(3) Epistola ad Lucidum Presbyterum, against the Predestinarians of the monastery of Adrumetum. Lucidus was convinced by this letter, and subscribed to the points condemned in it (Mansi, Concil. 7:1007). This and other Epistolae, to Ruricius and others, are in Canisii Lect. Antiq. i, 352 (Antw. 1725, fol.), and in the Biblioth. Max. Patr. viii; also several Sermons. The treatise De Gratia, is also, in Migne, Patrol. Lat. lviii, 775 sq., together With the Epistolae and Sermones. Angelo Mai, in his Spicilegium Romanum, gives three discourses of Faustus never before printed. Neander gives the following judicious statement of the doctrines of Faustus: "Although Faustus adopted the Semi-Pelagian mode of exposition with regard to the relation of the free-will to grace, yet he unfolded this scheme in a way peculiar to himself. If he did not express himself so distinctly as to satisfy the acute and clear-headed theologian, yet we see presented in him, in a beautiful manner, such a harmonious tendency of Christian feeling, keeping aloof from all partial and exaggerated views, as prevented him from giving undue prominence either to the work of redemption, so as to infringe on that of the creation, or to the work of creation, so as to infringe on that of the redemption. 'As the same Being,' says he, 'is both Creator and Redeemer, so one and the same Being is to be adored both in the work of creation and of redemption.' Among the attributes which, as expressing the image of God, could not be destroyed in human nature, he reckons pre-eminently the free-will. But even before the fall the free-will was insufficient without the aid of grace, and still less can it at present, since sin has entered, suffice by its own strength for the attainment of salvation. It has now lost its original power, yet it is not in itself destroyed; it is not altogether shut out from the divine gifts, but only it must strive once more to obtain them by intense efforts and the divine assistance. Like the author of the work De vocatione gentium, he makes a distinction between general grace (gratia generalis), a term by which he designates the religioso-moral capability which God has furnished to man's nature, and which, too, has not been wholly supplanted by sin, as well as the universal inward revelation of God by means of this universal religioso- moral sense; between general grace so understood, and special grace, by which he means all that was first bestowed on mankind through Christianity. But the relation of these two kinds of grace to each other is defined by him quite otherwise than it is in the work above mentioned. Although, as a general thing, the grace of redemption, and in many cases, also, the calling, is antecedent to all human merit, still the operation of that special grace in man is dependent on the manner in which he has used that general grace; and in many cases the striving and seeking of the man which proceeds from the former, the self-active bent of, the free-will, is antecedent to that which is imparted to the man by this special grace; a thing which Faustus endeavors to show by examples similar to those which the Semi-Pelagians had been accustomed to adduce since the time of Cassian. He denominates the imperishable germ of good in human nature a spark of fire implanted within by the divine hand, which, cherished by man, with the assistance of divine grace, would become operative. He recognises, therefore, a preparatory development of the religious and moral nature even among the heathen, and controverts those who are unwilling to allow that, by a faithful use of that general grace, the heathen might have attained to the true service of God. From this it might also be inferred that Faustus was an opponent of the doctrine which taught that all the heathen would be unconditionally condemned; and that it' was his opinion that the worthy among them would still be led, after the present life, to faith in the Saviour, and thereby to salvation; but on these points he does not express himself more distinctly. There is much good sense in the remarks of Faustus where he compares the two extremes in the mode of apprehending the relation of grace to free-will with the two extremes in the mode of apprehending the doctrine concerning the person of Christ. As in the doctrine concerning Christ's person some gave undue prominence to the divine, others to the human element, and, as the result of so doing, were led into errors which, on opposite sides, injured the doctrine of redemption, so he says it was also with the doctrine concerning human nature. Faustus deserves notice also on account of his dispute concerning the corporeality of the soul. He affirmed, as others before him had already done (e.g. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matthew v, 8, and even Didymus, in his work De Trinitate, bk. ii, ch..4: ῾Οι ἄγγελοι πνεύματα, καθὸ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀσώματοι, σώματα ἐπουράνια διὰ τὸ ἀπείρως ἀπέχειν τοῦ ἀκτίστου πνεύματος), that God alone is a pure spirit; in the essential nature of finitude is grounded limitation as by tim3 (a beginning of existence), so also by space; and hence all creatures are corporeal beings, the higher spirits as well as souls. He was led by his controversies with the Arians of the German tribes, who were then spreading themselves in these countries, to unfold these views still farther; for he supposed he could demonstrate that if equality of essence with the Father was not ascribed to the Logos, it would be necessary to regard him as a corporeal being. He found an opponent who surpassed him in philosophical spirit in the presbyter Claudianus Mamertus of Vienna, a man on whom the speculative spirit of Augustine had exerted a great influence. He wrote against Faustus his work De statu animae" (Neander, Church History, Torrey, ii, 645).- Clarke, Succession of Sac. Lit. ii, 255; Neander, History of Dogmas, Ryland, ii, 383; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. v, pt. ii, ch. v, § 26, n. 55; Ceillier, Auteurs Sacres (Paris, 1861), 10:420-436. SEE SEMI- PELAGIANS; SEE MASSILIANS.

 
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