Hilarius Pictaviensis

Hilarius Pictaviensis (HILARY, ST., bishop or POITIERS), one of the most distinguished opponents of Arianism in the 4th century, was a native of the city whose name he bears. He was of noble descent, but a heathen. Having become a convert to the Christian faith, he was baptized, together with his wife and daughter. He was subsequently made bishop, about 350, notwithstanding his being a married man. In 356 he defended Athanasius, in the Council of Bziers, against Satunlinus, bishop of Arles (said to have been an Arian, and to have held communion with Ursatius and Valens). For this defense he was, by order of Constantius, exiled to Phrygia, but he still continued to defend the principles of the Church against the Eastern bishops, most of whom were Arians. "In 359 he attended the Council of Seleucia, in Isauria, which had been summoned by order of Constantius, and boldly defended the doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian bishops, who formed the majority of the council.' He afterwards followed the deputies of the council to the emperor's court, and presented a petition to Constantius, in which he desired permission to dispute publicly with the Arians in the emperor's presence. In order to get rid of so formidable an opponent, the Arians, it is said, induced the emperor to send him away from the court; but previous to his departure, Hilarius wrote an invective against Constantius, in which he denounced him as Antichrist, and described him as a person who had only professed Christianity in order that he might deny Christ. After the Catholic bishops had recovered their liberty under Julian, Hilarius assembled several councils in Gaul for the reestablishment of the Catholic faith and the condemnation of Arian bishops. He also traveled in Italy for the same purpose, and used every exertion to purify the churches of that country from all Arian heresies. When Auxentius was appointed bishop of Milan by the emperor Valentinian in 364, Hilarius presented a petition to the emperor, in which he denounced Auxentius as a heretic. Though this charge was denied by Auxentius, Hilarius still continued his attacks upon him for heterodoxy, and created so much confusion in the city that he was at length ordered to retire to his own diocese, where he died in the year 367." In theology, Hilary maintained the Athanasian doctrines with so much vigor that he acquired the name of Malleus Arianorum. His exegetical writings show evident marks of the influence of Origen. Of his commentary on the Psalms, Jerome says, "In quo opere imitatus Origenern, nonnulla etiam de suo addidit." His theological system is to be gathered chiefly from his De Trinitate, lib. 12. He maintains the essential oneness and equality of the Son with the Father. As to the Holy Spirit, he teaches that "faith in him is necessarily connected with confessing the Father and the Son, and to know this is sufficient. If any one ask what the Holy Spirit is," and is not satisfied with the answer that he is through him and from him through whom are all things; that he is the Spirit of God, and his gift to believers, even apostles and prophets will not satisfy such a person, for they only assert this of him, that he is (De Trinit. 2, 29). He does not venture to attribute to him the-name of God, because the Scripture does not so call him expressly, yet it says that the Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God and it therefore follows that he partakes the divine essence (De Trinit. 12, 55). His view of the body of Christ is not entirely free from Docetism; and in speaking of thee human soul, he seems to think that the idea of a creature includes that of corporeity (Com. in Matthew 5, 8). As to predestination, he "emphatically asserted the harmonious connection between grace and free-will, the powerlessness of the latter, and yet its importance- as a condition of the operation of divine grace. 'As the organs of the human body,' he says (De Trinit. 2, 35), 'cannot act without the addition of moving causes, so the human has, indeed, the capacity for knowing God; but if it does not receive through faith the gift of the Holy Spirit, it will not attain to that knowledge. Yet the gift of Christ stands open to all, and that which all want is given to every one as far as he will accept it.' 'It is the greatest folly,' he says in another passage, 'not to perceive that we live in dependence on and through God, when we imagine that in things which men undertake and hope for, they may venture to depend on their own strength. What we have, we have from God; on him must all our hope be placed' (Comm. in Psalm 57). Accordingly, he did not admit an unconditional predestination; he did not find it in the passages in Romans 9 respecting the election of Esau, commonly adduced in favor of it, but only a predestination conditioned by the divine foreknowledge of his determination of will; otherwise every man would be born under a necessity of sinning (Comm. in Psalm 57)." As a writer Hilary is copious, and fertile in thought and illustration, but often turgid and obscure in style. A pretty full analysis of his writings is given in Clarke, Succession of Sacred Literature, 1, 302 sq. The chief among them are,

1. Ad Constantium Augustum Liber Primus, written, it is believed, A.D. 355, to demand from the emperor protection against the persecutions of the Arians: —

2. Commentarius (s. Tractatus) in Evangelium Matthaei (A.D. 356), in the tone and spirit of Origen: it is repeatedly quoted by Jerome and Augustine. The preface, quoted in Cassianus (De Incarn. 7, 24), is lost: —

3. De Synodis Fidei Catholicae contra Arianos, etc., or Epistola (A.D. 358), explaining the views of the Eastern Church on the Trinity, and showing that their difference from the Western Church lay more in the expressions than in the dogma: —

4. De Trinitate Libri 12 s. Contra Arianos, s. De Fide, etc. (A.D. 360), his most important work, and the first great controversial treatise on the Trinity in the Latin Church: —

5. Ad Constantinum Augustum Liber secundus (A.D. 360), a petition concerning his banishment, and a vindication of his principles: —

6. Contra Constantium Augustum Liber, a virulent attack against Constantius, which has been mentioned above. It is remarkable, inasmuch as it confines the creed to the words of Scripture, and proves that some of the fundamental doctrines of the Romish Church, as opposed to the Protestant, had already been called in question at that time: —

7. Commentarii (s. Tractatus, s. Expositiones) in Psalmos, general reflections upon the spirit of different psalms, written in the manner of Origen —

8. Fragmenta Hilarii, containing passages from a lost work on the synods of Seleucia and Ariminum, etc., first published by Faber in 1598. Some of his works are lost, and others have been erroneously attributed to him. The works of Hilarius have been published by Mireeus (Paris, 1544), Erasmus (Basel, 1523; reprinted 1526, 1535, 1550, 1570), Gillot (Paris, 1572; reprinted, with several improvements, 1605, 1631, 1652); by Dom Constant, of the Benedictines (Paris, 1693, deemed by some the best edition), the Marquis de Maffei (Verona, 1730), and Oberthir (178188, 4 vols. 8vo). See Vita S. Hilarii, operibus ejus a Dom. Constant collectis praefixa; Gallia Christiana, vol. 2, col. 1038; Hist. litter. de la France, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 139; Cave, Scriptores Eccles. 1, 213; Tillemont, Memoires, 7, 432; Oudin, Script. Ecclesiastici, 1, 426; Ceillier, Hist. des Auteurs Ecclesiastiques, 5, 1; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 24, 660; Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biogr. vol. 2; English Cyclopaedia; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 6, 84 sq.; Dorner, Lehre 5. d. Person Christi, 1, 1037; Dupin, Ecclesiastical Writers, cent. 4; Neander, History of Dogmas; Neander, Ch. History, 2, 396, 419, 427, 559; Waterland, Works; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. 1, 248; Lecky, Rationalism in Europe, 2, 13, 151; Shedd, Guericke's Ch. History, p. 294,322, 372; Miler, Hist. Ch. Christ, 2, 81; Hook, Eccl. Biog. 6:46; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, Milman's ed., 2, 320; Schaff, Hist. Chr. Church. 3:589, 664, 959 sq.; Bibliotheca Sacra, 1, 399; 11:299; Lardner, Works, 4:178; Riddle, Christian Antiquities; Darling, Cyclop. Bibl. 1, 1476; Milman, Hist. Christianity, 2, 437 sq.; 3:106,286,356; Baur, Dogmengeschichte; Taylor, Ancient Christianity, 1, 223, 326; Christian Remembrancer, July, 1853, p. 241; Brit. and For. Evangel, Rev. Oct. 1866, p. 689.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.