Cyprianus (1) Thascius Caecilius. Name .â€”He is styled Thascius Cyprianus by the proconsul (Vit. Pontii ), and styles himself "Cyprianus qui et Thascius" in the singular heading of Ep. 66. He took the name Caecilius, according to Jerome ( Cat. Ill. Vir. v.), from the presbyter who converted him, and is called Caecilius Cyprianus in the proscription ( Ep. 66).
Cyprian was an orator, and afterwards even a teacher of rhetoric ("in tantam gloriam venit eloquentiae ut oratoriam quoque doceret Carthagini," Hieron. Comm. Jon 100:3, and cf. Aug. Serm. 312, Â§ 4). It is not quite clear what is meant by Jerome in speaking of him as a former "adsertor idololatriae," and Augustine as "having decorated the crumbling doctrines of demons." His style is very polished, and, as Augustine points out, became more simple and beautiful with time, and (as his critic believed) with the purer taste of Christianity. He edited for Christians the phraseological dictionary of Cicero (see Hartel's praef. ad fin. ). His systematic habits and powers of business contributed greatly to his success as the first of church organizers. His address was dignified, conciliatory, affectionate; his looks attractive by their grave joyousness. He never assumed the philosopher's pall, which Tertullian his "master" maintained to be the only dress for Christians; he thought its plainness pretentious. Augustine speaks of the tradition of his gentleness, and he never lost the friendship of heathens of high rank (Pont. 14). He was wealthy, his landed property considerable, and his house and gardens beautiful (Pont. Vit. ad Don. i. xv. xvi.).
His conversion was then important in the series of men of letters and law who were at this time added to the church, and who so markedly surpass in style and culture their heathen contemporaries. Pearson rightly sets aside the inference of Baronius (from De Dei gratia) that Cyprian was old at his conversion, but that he was so seems to be stated, however obscurely, by Pontius (c. 2, "adhuc rudis fidei et cui nondum forsitan crederetur supergressus vetustatis actatem"). Christian doctrines, especially that of regeneration, had previously excited his wonder, but not his derision ( ad Don. iii. iv.). He was converted by an aged presbyter, Caecilian. During his catechesis he analysed and conversed with the circle about him on Scripture Lives, devoted himself to chastity, and sold some estates and distributed the proceeds to the poor. He composed, in his Quod Idola dii non sint , a Christian assault on Polytheism, freely compiling the 1James , 2 nd sections of his tract from Minucius, Â§ 20â€“27, Â§ 18, Â§ 32, and his 3rd section from Tertullian's Apology , Â§ 21â€“23, with some traces of Tert. de Anima naturaliter Christiana . A comparison of this pamphlet with the originals well illustrates his ideal of style. He mainly retains the very language, but erases whatever seemed rugged, ambiguous, or strained. He maintains a historical kernel of mythology, points out the low character of indigenous Roman worship; illustrates the activity of deluding daemons from the scenes at exorcisms, of which, however, he scarcely seems (as Tertullian does) to have been an eyewitness. He contrasts this with the doctrine of Divine unity, which he describes nobly, but illustrates infelicitously. The history of Judaism, its rejection of its Messiah, and the effects which Christianity is producing in the individual and commencing on society bring him to his new standpoint. He is perhaps the first writer who uses the continuous sufferings of believers as evidence of their credibility. This restatement and co-ordination of previous arguments was probably not ineffective, but as yet Cyprian exhibits no conception that Christianity is to be a world-regenerating power. He deliberately excludes providence from history (Quod Id. v.).
At the Easter following, the season most observed in Africa for this purpose, he was probably baptized, and to the autumn after we refer the ad Donatum , a monologue, a brief Tusculan held in his own villa, on The Grace of God . It already exhibits Cyprian not as a spiritual analyst or subtle theologian, but irrefragable in his appeals to the distinctly New Life which has appeared in the world, amid the contemporary degradationsâ€”the repudiation of the responsibility of wealth, the disruption of the client-bond, the aspect of the criminal classes, the pauperization of the mass, and the systematic corruption by theatre and arena. For the present, however, withdrawal from the world into Christian circles is the only remedy in which he can hope. "Divine Grace" is an ascertained psychological fact, and this, though as yet narrow in application, is the subject of the treatise.
He soon after sold, for the benefit of the poor, his horti, which some wealthy friends bought up afterwards and presented to him again. Meantime he resided with Caecilian. We can only understand the expression of Pontius (who lived similarly as a deacon with Cyprian), "erat sane illi etiam de nobis contubernium . . . Caeciliani," to mean that he was at that time "of our body," the diaconate. We find other instances of the closeness of this bond. Baronius and Bp. Fell are equally inexcusable in understanding what is said of Caecilian's family and of Job's wife as having any bearing upon the question of Cyprian's celibacy. There is no indication of his having been married. Caecilian at his death commended his family to him, although not as officially curator or tutor, which would have contradicted both Christian and Roman usage.
His Ordination. â€”His activity while a member of the ordo or concessus of presbyters is noticed, but he was yet a neophyte when he became bishop. The step was justified on the ground of his exceptional character, but the opposition organized by five presbyters was now and always a serious difficulty to him. The Plebes would listen to no refusal, and frustrated an attempt to escape. He subsequently rests his title (Ep. 43, Ep. 66, Vit. ) on their suffrages, and on the "judicium Dei," with the consensus of his fellow bishops. In ordinary cases he treats the election by neighbour bishops as necessary to a valid episcopate ( Ep. 57, v.; Ep. 59, vii.; Ep. 66). From this time Cyprian is usually addressed both by others and by the Roman clergy as Papa , though the title is not attributed to the bp. of Rome until long after. An earlier instance of the use of the name occurs at Alexandria, but probably the first application of the name is traceable to Carthage. Some time between July 248 and April 249 Cyprian became bishop, a few months before the close of the "thirty years' peace" of the church.
His Theory of the Episcopal Office seems to have been his own already, and as it supplies the key to his conception of church government may be stated at once. The episcopate succeeded to the Jewish priesthood ( Epp. 8, i.; 69, viii.; 65; 67, i.; Testim. iii. 85); the bishop was the instructor ( Ep. 50, xi.; Unit. x.) and the judge ( Ep. 17, ii.). In this latter capacity he does nothing without the information and advice of presbyters, deacon, and laity. He is the apostle of his flock ( Ephesians 3 , iii.; 45; 66, iv.) by direct succession, and the diaconate is the creation of his predecessors. The usual parallel between the three orders of the Christian and Jewish ministry differs entirely from that drawn by Cyprian.
The stress laid on the responsibility of the laity is very great. Though the virtue of the office is transmitted by another channel, it is they who, by the "aspiration of God," address to each bishop his call to enter on that "priesthood" and its grace, and it is their duty to withdraw from his administration if he is a "sinner" (Ep. 67). The bishops do not co-opt into or enlarge their own college. Each is elected by his own Plebes. Hence he is the embodiment of it. "The bishop is in the church and the church in the bishop." They have no other representatives in councils; he is naturally their "member." These views appear fully developed in his first epistle, and in the application of texts in his early Testimonies; it is incredible that they should have been borrowed from paganism, and unhistorical to connect them with Judaizers. They are (although Cyprian does not dwell on this aspect) not incompatible with a recognition of the priesthood of the laity as full as that of Tertullian. The African episcopate had declined in character during the long peace; many bishops were engaged in trade, agriculture, or usury, some were conspicuously fraudulent or immoral or too ignorant to instruct catechumens and avoid using heretical compositions in public prayers ( de Laps. 4; Ep. 65, iii.; Auct. de Rebapt. ix.; Aug. c. Don. vii. 45; Resp. ad Epp. [See Sedatus]). Similarly among the presbyters strange occupations were possible (Tert. de Idol. cc. 7â€“9) and unmarried deacons shared their chambers with spiritual sisters who maintained their chastity to be unimpaired. The effect of the persecution was salutary on this state of things, and was felt to be so. To the eighteen months of "peace" which remained belong his Epp. 1â€“4, and the treatise on the dress of virgins, which answers to his description of his employment as "serving discipline" during that interval. In three of the letters his authority is invoked beyond his diocese, and wears something of a metropolitan aspect. Otherwise it is to be noticed that the African bishops rank by seniority. To these letters Mr. Shepherd has taken objections, which, if valid, would be fatal to the genuineness of much of the Cyprianic correspondence; but a rigorous investigation of those objections is conclusive in favour of the epistles.
De Habitu Virginum. â€”Many Christian women lived, as a "work of piety," the self-dedicated life of virgins in their own homes. Tertullian had killed the fashion of going unveiled, which some had claimed as symbolic of childlike innocence, yet with the avowed object of rendering their order attractive. Vanity, sentiment, and the sense of security were still mischievous elements, and Cyprian writes mainly against the extravagant fashions, half Roman, half Tyrian, in which the wealthier sisters appeared. His book, though in language drawing largely from Tertullian's treatise of similar title, resembles much more in matter and aim his Cultus Feminarum . Cyprian is here so minute and fastidious in his reduction of the violent rhetoric of Tertullian that this might almost pass for a masterly study of writing; and Augustine regards it as a very perfect work, drawing from it illustrations both of the "grand" and of the "temperate" style (Aug. de Doctrina Christiana , bk. iv. pp. 78, 86). In estimating the probable influence of this booklet on ascetic life, it is not satisfactory to find that the incentives used are partly low and partly overstrainedâ€”the escape from married troubles, espousals with Christ, higher rank in the resurrection; while efficiency in works of charity, the power of purity, self-sacrifice and intercession, are not dwelt upon.
Testimonia ad Quirinum , libb. iii.â€”These, though not certainly belonging to this time are more like his work now than afterwards They are texts compiled for a layman (filius ). I. in 24 heads on the succession of the Gentile to the Jewish church. II. 30 heads on the Deity, Messiahship, and salvation of Christ. III. 120 on Christian duty. The skill and toil of such a selection are admirable. The importance of the text in elucidation of the Latin versions then afloat is immense, and Hartel is quite dissatisfied with what he has been able to contribute to this object (Hartel, Praefat. Cyp. p. xxiii.).
Decian Persecution .â€”Cyprian's conviction of the need of external chastisements for the worldliness of the church was supported by intimations which he felt to be supernatural. The edict which began to fulfil them in the end of a.d. 249 aimed at effecting its work by the removal of leaders, and at first fixed capital penalties on the bishops only (Rettberg, p. 54; Ep. 66, vii.). Monotheism, even when licensed (like Judaism), had an anti-national aspect, and Christianity could not be a licita religio , simply because it was not the established worship of any locality or race. In this, and in the fact that torture was applied to procure not (as in other accusations) confession but denial of the charge (Apol. ii.; Cyp. ad Demet. xii. m), in the encouragement of delation as to private meetings ( Dig. xlviii. 4; Cod. ix. 8, iv. vi. vii.), and in the power given to magistrates under standing edicts to apply the test of sacrifice at any moment to a neighbourhood or a person, lay the various unfairnesses of which Tertullian and Cyprian complain. Dionysius of Alexandria, and with him Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Maximus of Nola, Babylas of Antioch, Alexander of Jerusalem, Fabian of Rome, were all attacked, the last three martyred. There was no fanaticism of martyrdom as yet. It seemed wrong to expose a successor to instant death, and no bishop was elected for 16 months at Rome. Like the former three, Cyprian placed himself (before the end of Jan.; Lipsius, RÃ¶m. Bisch. Chronol. p. 200) out of reach, and, with the same determination with which he afterwards pronounced that his time was come, refused concealment. The grounds for his retirement, consistently stated by himself, are the necessity of continuing the administration ( Ep. 12, i. v. vi.), the danger which at Carthage he would have attracted to others ( Epp. 7, 14.), the riots it would have aroused ( Ep. 43), and the insistence of Tertullus ( Epp. 12, 14.). The Cyprianic epistles of this period, passing between the Roman presbyters, the Carthaginian bishop and certain imprisoned presbyters (Moyses, Maximus), deacons (Rufinus and Nicostratus), laymen, and particularly an imperfectly educated Carthaginian confessor Celerinus (whose ill-spelt letters Epp. 21 and 22 are extant), present, when worked out, a tesselated coherence with each other and with slight notices in Eusebius (vi. 43), which is absolutely convincing as to the originality and genuineness of the documents.
The Lapsi .â€”Five commissioners in each town and the proconsul on circuit (Epp. 43, iii.; 10; 56) administered the Decian edict. The sufferings by torture, stifling imprisonments, and even fire (14, 21) were very severe ( Ep. 22). Women and boys were among the victims. Exile and confiscation were employed. In the first terror there was a large voluntary abjuration of Christianity, whether literally by "the majority of his flock" ( Ep. 11) may be uncertain, but Cyprian felt himself "seated in the ruins of his house." Scenes of painful vividness are touched in, but these must be passed by. Many of the clergy fell or fled, leaving scarcely enough for the daily duty of the city ( Epp. 34, iv.; 40; 29), as did many provincial bishops ( Epp. 11, 59). Different classes of those who conformed were the Thurificati, Sacrificati (the more heinous) ( Ep. 59), and LIBELLATICI, ( q.v. in D. C. A. , as also LIBELLI), whose self-excision was less palpable. Of this class there were some thousands (Ep. 24).
Formation of a General Policy .â€”Cyprian from his retirement guided the policy of the whole West upon the tremendous questions of church communion which now arose. (1) Indifferentism offered the lapsed an easy return by means of indulgences from, or in the names of, martyrs. (2) Puritanism barred all return. The Roman clergy first essayed to deal with the question in conjunction with the clergy of Carthage independently of Cyprian, whose absence they invidiously deplore (Ep. viii.). Their letter was returned to them by Cyprian himself, with some caustic remarks on its style (which are singularly incorrect; see Hartel's Praefatio, xlviii.) as well as on the irregularity of the step. After this an altered tone, and Novatian's marked style, is discernible in their letters ( Epp. 30 and? 36).
The granting of indulgences (not by that name) to lapsed persons, by confessors and martyrs, which had been first questioned and then sharply criticised by Tertullian (ad Mart. 1; de Pudic. 22), grew very quickly under the influence of some of those clergy who had opposed Cyprian's election. The veneration for sufferers who seemed actually to be the saviours of Christianity was intense, and many heads were turned by the adulatory language of their greatest chiefs (cf. Ep. x. 24). Their libelli would presently have superseded all other terms of communion.
A strange document (Ep. 23) is extant in the form of an absolution to "all the lapsed" from "all the confessors," which the bishops are desired to promulgate. Rioters in some of the provincial towns extorted communion from their presbyters ( Ep. 27, iii.). At Rome itself the influence of Novatian with the confessors created a tendency to strictness rather than indulgence, and there were no such disorders, but they prevailed elsewhere ( Epp. 27, 31, 32; Ep. 30, iv. q.; 30, vii.). Cyprian at once proposed by separate letters to his clergy and laity (to whom he writes with warm confidence), to various bishops, and to the Roman confessors and clergy (Epp. 15, 16, 17, 26), one general course of action: to reserve all cases of lapsed, without regard to the confessors' libelli, until episcopal councils at Rome and Carthage should lay down terms of readmission for the deserving ( Ep. 20; 55, iv.); then the bishops, with clergy and laity ( Ep. 17, iv.; Ep. 31) assisting, to investigate each case; public acknowledgment to be made, readmission to be by imposition of hands by bishop and clergy. Meantime the acts of the confessors to be recognized ( Ep. 20, iii.) so far as that persons in danger, who might hold a libellus , should be readmitted by any presbyter, or in extremis by a deacon ( Epp. 18, 19). All others to be exhorted to repentance, and commended with prayer to God at their deaths. The grounds he urged wereâ€”(1) the wideness of the question, which was too large for individual discretion ( totius orbis, Ep. 19, iii. cf. 30, vi.). (2) That if restored at once the lapsed would have fared better than those who had borne the loss of all for Christ. These principles are developed also in the de Lapsis, which, however, is not quite as M. Freppel describes it, "a rÃ©sumÃ© of the letters," but a rÃ©sumÃ© of the modified views of Cyprian a little later. In M. Freppel's Sorbonne Lectures ( St. Cyprien, pp. 195â€“221) may be studied with profit the Ultramontane representation of this scheme as equivalent to the modern indulgence system, backed by assertions that the Roman church "indicated to Carthage the only course," which Cyprian "fully adopted." All, however, that the Roman clergy had recommended was mere readmission of sick penitents, without any conception of a policy, or of the method by which it could be worked. These are developed step by step in Epp. 17, 18, 19, and communicated to the Roman church ( Ep. 20). In replying through Novatian ( Ep. 30, see 55 v.) the Roman presbyters re-state and adopt them (cf. Ep. 31, vi. 41).
Temper in Carthage .â€”Through the earlier part of the above section of correspondence is perceptible a reliance on the laity. The clergy do not reply to his letters (Ep. 18), they defer to the libelli, or use them against him ( Ep. 27). In Ep. 17 he entreats the aid of the laity against them. When the concurrence of the African and Italian episcopate is obtained ( Ep. 43, iii.), and that of Novatian and the Roman clergy and confessors ( Epp. 30, 31), assuming a stronger tone ( Ep. 32) with his own clergy, he requires them to circulate the whole correspondence, which is done (Ep 55, iv.), and excommunication is announced against any who should allow communion except on the agreed terms.
About Nov. 250, persecution relaxed (possibly owing to the Gothic advance in Thrace), and though it was still unsafe for Cyprian to return, he endeavoured to deal with the distress of sufferers who had lost their all, and to recruit the ranks of the clergy and allay the excitement among the lapsed, by a commission (vicarii) of three bishops, Caldonius, Herculanus, Victor, and two presbyters, Numidicus and Rogatian (Epp. 41, 26).
Declaration of Parties .â€”The excitement on the question of the lapsed is evinced by two classes of stories then afloat as to judgments following on unreconciled offences and on presumptuous communion (de Lapsis, 24, 25, 26). Cyprian employed both to urge delay, but they do not emanate from his party of moderation. At Carthage the party of laxity became prominent; at Rome, that of exclusiveness.
(1) The party of laxity was composed of confessors, spoiled by flattery ( de Laps. 20), fashionable lapsi , who declined all penance (Laps. 30), influential ones, who had forced certain clergy to receive them, but also some clergy who united against Cyprian's policy with the five presbyters who had from the first resisted him. Of these, three were undoubtedly Donatus, Gordius, Fortunatus (Maran. Vit. Cyp. Â§ xvii.; Rettberg, pp. 97â€“112). That the fourth was Gaius of Didda, or Augendus, is but a guess. The principal in position and ability was the presbyter Novatus (Pearson's Jovinus and Maximus, and Pamelius's Repostus and Felix are impossible). That Cyprian's five original opponents still acted against him is shewn by "olim secundum vestra suffragia" ( Ep. 43, v.), though in 43, ii. he seems only to conjecture their complicity with Felicissimus, whom Novatus had associated with himself as deacon in managing a district called Mons (possibly the Bozra itself) ( Epp. 52, 59, 36). Cyprian complains of not having been consulted in this appointment, which, owing to the then position of the deacons, gave the party control of considerable funds. All the arrangements hitherto agreed on were disregarded by them, Cyprian's missives unanswered, and his commission of relief treated as an invasion of the diaconal office of Felicissimus, who announced, while other lapsi were at once received into communion, that whoever held communications with or accepted aid from the commission would be excluded from communion or relief from the Mons ( Ep. 43, ii.; Ep. 41, where the conjecture in morte , or references to Monte in Numidia, or to the Montenses at Rome, who were Donatists, and were never (anciently) confused with the Novatianists or called Montanistae, are absurd; though Hefele, Novatianischer Schisms, ap. Wetzer and Welte, K. Lexik. and Conciles, t. ii. p. 232, countenances these confusions). It is with the name of Felicissimus that the lax party is generally connected ( Ep. 43, iii. v. vii.), and he, with a fellow-deacon Augendus, a renegade bishop Repostus, and certain others, the five presbyters not among them, was presently excommunicated. There is no evidence, nor any contemporary instance, to warrant the belief that Novatus ordained Felicissimus deacon (see the MSS. reading Ep. 52, "satellitem suum diaconum constituit," which Hartel has unwarrantably departed from), nor is there any such appearance of presbyterian principles in this party, as divines of anti-episcopal churches, Neander, Rettberg, dâ€™Aubigne, Keyser, have freely assumed. The party were in episcopal communion, took part in the episcopal election at Carthage, presently elected a new bishop for themselves, and procured episcopal consecration for him. When Novatus visited Rome, he threw himself into the election then proceeding, and, after opposing the candidate who was chosen, procured episcopal consecration for his nominee there also. Felicissimus too must have been a deacon already, or he could not have involved himself and Novatus in the charge of defrauding the church ( Epp. 52, i.; 50, i ).
(2) The Puritan Party .â€”The strength of the Puritans, on the other hand, was in Rome. A group of confessors there, of whom the presbyters Moyses and Maximus were the chief, united with Novatian and the clergy in approving Cyprian's proposals. The modification of discipline by martyrs' merits was never countenanced here (Ep. 28, ii.); nevertheless, Moyses, before his death (which probably happened on the last day of 250), had condemned the extreme tendencies of Novatian towards the non-reconcilement of penitents (see Valesius's correct interpretation of Eus. vi. 43, and Routh, R. S. iii. p. 81). While Cornelius at Rome and Cyprian were moving towards greater leniency than their resolutions had embodied, Novatian, without questioning the hope of salvation for the lapsed, was now for making their exclusion perpetual, and teaching that the purity of the church could not otherwise be maintained.
The earthly conditions of the invisible and visible church had not yet been discussed as the Donatists compelled them to be, and Novatian's growing error, though in the present application it completely severed him from Cyprian and the church, was not in principle different from that which Cyprian (though without producing a schism) held in relation to Baptism. Early in a.d. 251 the Roman confessors were liberated; they lost whatever influence Moyses had exercised on them; they had been drawn towards Novatian, and when Novatus, arriving from Carthage, attached himself to this party, because, though its puritanism was alien to his own practices at home, it was the only opposition existing in the capital which threatened to overthrow the Cyprianic side, they were at once organized into a party to secure the election of a bp. of Rome who would break with Cyprian. The moment for election was given by the absence of Decius and his leading officers on the frontier or in Illyria on account of the base alliance of Priscus with Cniva, and the revolt of Valens. The party of moderation, however, prevailed and secured the election of Cornelius: and consecrated him in spite of himself by 16 bishops ("vim" Ep 55, vii.).
First Council .â€”Cyprian returned to Carthage after Easter (Mar 23) from his 14 months' absence (biennium), which seems to have been prolonged by a fear of the "faction" (Ep. 43, i.) rekindling persecution ( Ep. 55, v.) by some demonstration. The bishops of the province met in April for the first council, held in Carthage, for half a century [See AGRIPPINUS], but the discussion on the lapsed was postponed by letters from Rome, which Cyprian laid before them, viz. Cornelius's announcement of his election ( Ep. 45, ii.) and a temperate protest against it from Novatian (45, iv.) (Maran, p. lx. misinterprets this against the sense of Baluze, whom he edits). The protest was soon followed by a mass of charges, which Cyprian declined to submit to the council. This was excellent policy, but at the same time a curious exercise of personal authority in that earliest type of returning freedomâ€”the church council. At the same time he made them dispatch two of their number, Caldonius and Fortunatus, to Rome, to report. Caldonius was instructed to procure attestations of the regularity of the ordination of Cornelius from bishops who had attended it ( Ep. 44 and cf. 45, i.). Meantime, communications with the Roman church were to be addressed only to the clergy and not to Cornelius. (The statement of Lipsius, p. 204, on Ep. 45, v., is too strong.) He was also to lay before the clergy and laity, so as to guard them against clandestine influence, the whole correspondence about Felicissimus ( Epp. 41, 43, 45. v.). The council, then reverting to its programme, was obliged to dispatch first the question of Felicissimus, since, if he were justified in his reception of the lapsed, no terms of communion need be discussed; but if the main issue went against him they could not on such ex post facto ground deal with him disciplinarily. His offence consisted not in his theory, which might conceivably be correct, but in his readmitting people whose cases had been by due notice reserved. Cyprian, to his honour and like a good lawyer, was not present during the trial of his opponent, who was condemned. He does not employ the first person in relating it ( Ep. 45, v.), as he always does of councils which he attended, and from Ep. 48 we must conclude that he was at Hadrumetum at that very time. The programme of the council was again interrupted still more seriously. Two African bishops fresh from Rome, Stephanus and Pompeius, had brought evidence of the regularity of Cornelius's ordination ( Ep. 55. vii.) as conclusive as the commissioners could have obtained, and the council had expressed itself as formally satisfied ( Ep. 45, i.) when four new delegates from Rome (Maximus, not the confessor; Augendus, etc.) announced the consecration of Novatian to the Roman see. This surprise (for fuller details of which see Novatian) was prepared by the party of severity, who were disappointed by the election of Cornelius, stimulated by Evaristus, whom Cyprian regarded as the author of the movement ( Ep. 50), and directed in their action by Novatus, who, possibly without being a mere adventurer, nor on the other hand at ail deserving Neander's characteristic exculpations, had no doctrine of his own to maintain, but came to Rome simply to endeavour to promote a supposed independence by frustrating the arrangements made by the bishops as to the reception or exclusion of the lapsed. At Carthage therefore he belonged to the broad party, at Rome to the narrow. It is a mistake to suppose that his change of party was unnoted; cf. Ep. 52, iii. (4), "damnare nunc audet sacrificantium manus," with Ep. 43, iii., "nunc se ad perniciem lapsorum verterunt," i.e. by indulgence. It is also a mistake (though Lipsius falls into it, and it is universal with the earlier writers) and introduces confusion into the history to assume that Novatus made several voyages to and fro. If his arrival be fixed soon after Mark 5, a.d. 251, it will be found to solve the various problems. Their embassy to Carthage, rejected by the council ("expulsi" Ep. 50, not from Africa, as Pearson), appealed to Cyprian ( Ep. 44). They were not prepared to find that he had moved towards leniency as much as Novatian to severity from their late common standpoint; and they are told plainly that their position must now be considered as external to the church. Accepting this, they proceed to construct a schismatic episcopal body with wide alliances. Somewhere close to this point the treatise de Unitate, or the germ of it, was first delivered in the form of a speech, or a read pamphlet, to the council. We give an outline of it later. Messengers to Cornelius (Primitivus, Mettius, Nicephorus, an acolyte) then convey full accounts of the procedure, and inform him of his general recognition as bishop. Simultaneously, appeals, which were ultimately successful, were addressed by Cyprian to the Roman confessors to detach themselves from the schism in which they found themselves involved. The original work before the council, the restoration of the lapsed, had been facilitated by the two episodes, which had cleared off the extreme parties on either side. They now listened to Cyprian's treatise on the lapsed; but they inclined to a course even milder than he suggested, while they were less disposed than he to give the "Martyres" any voice in the decisions. Their encyclical is lost, but the particulars are extricable from his Letter to Antonian ( Ep. 55), which, since it treats only of the restoration of the libellatici, not of the lapsed, must be earlier than the second council, a.d. 252, and from the verbal resemblance of Ep. 54 (3) to 55 (v.) must be very near the event. We thence gather that they resolvedâ€”(1) On an individual examination of the libellatici; (2) Episcopal restoration of non-sacrificers after penance (Ep. 55, v.); (3) Of sacrificers if penitents at death (55, xiv.); (4) No restoration of those who deferred penance till death (55, xix.) A Roman synod was held in June or July by 60 bishops of Italy, who accepted these decisions, and excommunicated Novatian. Cornelius announced the facts in four (so Tillemont correctly) Greek (so Valois correctly) letters to Antioch (Eus. vi. 43), with two (non-extant) of Cyprian. Briefly to sum up the constitutional results of this first council of Carthage: 1. The views of the primate are submitted to those of the council; he admits the change ( Ep. 55, iii.). 2. The intercession and merits of the martyrs, as affecting the conditions of restoration, are set aside entirely. 3. On the other hand (as against Novatian), no offences are considered to be beyond the regular power of the church to remit. 4. (against Felicissimus). No power except that of the authentic organization can fix terms of communion. It will be at once seen that the free council of bishops had taken position as a Christian institution, exercising supreme governmental functions, and had laid clear lines as to where church authority resided. They further ruled that there could be no subsequent canvassing of the claims of a bishop once ordained. The resolutions were issued in the name of the bishops only.
The Reconciliation of the Novatianist Confessors at Rome .â€”A second embassy of Novatianists followed the report of the first, in order to press Cyprian homeâ€”Primus, Dionysius, Nicostratus, Evaristus, and above all, Novatus; to whose leaving Rome Cyprian does not hesitate partly to ascribe his own next success (Ep. 52 (2), ii.). Cyprian's letters to the Novatianist confessors are among the most beautiful and skilful in the collection; and Augustine cites no less than three times a passage from the letter on their return as embodying the absolute scriptural answer to puritan separations. It is the first exposition of the parable of the Tares, and St. Paul's image of the Great House. Prevailed on by the arguments used to them, and shocked by the consequences of their action, the whole party, with numerous adherents, returned to the Catholic side, and were publicly and magnanimously received, like the leaders of the same sect at Nicaea, and the Donatists at Carthage, and the Arians at Alexandria, without forfeit of dignity ( Epp. 49, 52, 53, 46, 54, 51). To Cyprian this was more than an occasion of Christian joy. It was the triumph of his theory ( Ep. 51 ad fin. ). The date of this event may be accurately determined as being after the Carthaginian council (since Cyprian does not mention this as sitting, in his letters on the confessors, and he read the account of their recantation to the church, Ep. 51, not to the bishops ), but prior to the Roman council, or else they would have been excommunicated by it, which they evidently were not; and since Cyprian says they recanted on the departure of Novatus, it was after the second embassy had left Rome.
Treatise on Unity .â€”The principles of this treatise, read in the council, and sent to the Roman confessors (Ep. 54), so shape all Cyprian's policy, that it is best to notice it here. It indicates its date minutely by allusions to the severe party (Novatian's) (iii. ministros, etc., viii, uno in loco, etc., ix. feritas, x. confessor, xi. episcopi nomen, xiii. aemuli), and by the absence of allusion to the lax party (Felicissimus), whose schism must have been noticed in such a paper if the question had not been concluded. In c. v. its original form as an address to bishops is traceable. The first appearance of Cyprian's characteristic error about baptism occurs in c. xi. Its first problem is the existence of schism (as distinct from heresy), "altar against altar," with freedom from corrupt doctrines and lives. The sole security is the ascertainment of the seat of authority and bond of unity. This is indicated by Christ's commission given once to Peter alone, yet again to all the apostles in the same terms. The oneness of the commission and the equality of the commissioned were thus emphasized. The apostleship, continued for ever in the episcopate, is thus universal, yet one: each bishop's authority perfect and independent, yet not forming with the others a mere agglomerate, but being a full tenure on a totality, like that of a shareholder in a joint-stock property. "Episcopatus unus est cujus a singulis in solidum pars tenetur." It is in the above definition, c. iv., that the famous interpolation has been made, which Roman authorities (Mgr. Freppel, late Professor at the Sorbonne, S. Cypyien et lâ€™Egl. dâ€™Afr. lect. 12; Prof. Hurter, of Innspruck, SS. PP. Opuscula, v. i. p. 72) even now feel it important to retain. The loss of it suggested the endeavour to make up for it by weaving together other texts from Cyprian to prove that this one after all represented his doctrineâ€”an attempt which would certainly never have been dreamed of if this spurious passage had not seemed to make him so strong a support. Such special pleading is performed with fullest ability by P. Ballerini (a.d. 1756, de Vi ac Primatu Romm. Pontiff. xiii. Â§ iii. ed. Westhoff, 1845). The MS. history is to be found fully in Hartel's preface, p. ix. p. xliii. It was rejected by Baluze (p. xiii. p. 397 p. 409, and Latini, Bib. S. p. 179 and praef.) and inserted by authority in the editions by Manutius and the Benedictines. The actual origin of the interpolation is partly in marginal glosses (as Latini proved) and partly in an Ep. of Pelagius, ii. (a.d. 854; Pelag. ii. Ephesians 6; Labbe, vol. vi. p. 627; ed. Ven. 1729), who produces as "terrible testimonies of the Fathers" a passage of Augustine nowhere else found, as well as this one four centuries before it made its way into a manuscript. Its introduction of the primacy of Peter as the centre of unity is a clumsy interruption of the argument and an overthrowal of Cyprian's universal principle of the "copiosum corpus Episcoporum" (Ep. 68, iii.; 55, xx.) as the core of the visible unity of the church. The rest of the treatise is the development in beautiful language, and the illustration from nature and scripture, of his principle. Schism is a divine test and prejudicial separation of unbelievers in principle. Lastly, unity in the visible church must mirror the unity of God and the faith, and separations are due, not so much to individual teachings as to a radical selfishness commonly sanctioned in religious, no less than in secular, life.
The Working of the Legislation .â€”The legislation had been brought out by the clergy naturally the austerer class; the one which had most inducements not to fall. It was too severe. The approach of the great plague evoked edicts for sacrifice and roused superstitions which renewed the popular feeling against Christians, and led to the magisterial and popular outbreak of a.d. 252, which is too formally called the Persecution of Gallus (Ep. 59, viii.), and which supernatural presages, not justified by the event, foreshewed as more cruel than that of Decius ( Epp. 57, vi.; 58, i.). Of the libellatics some rigorously tried to follow, others openly defied the conciliar enactments ( Epp. 57; 65, iii.; 68, ii.). Many palliations appeared on examination. A second council of 42 bishops at Carthage, held on May 15, 252 ( Ep. 59, xiii.), determined to readmit without exception or postponement all who had continued penitent. Their synodic letter ( Ep. 57), by Cyprian's hand, is a complete answer to his former sterner strain. The motive cause is the necessity of strengthening by communion those who will shortly be called to suffer. The Novatianists having attracted converts from heathenism and now given up hope of Cyprian, consecrated their legate Maximus to be (anti-) bishop of Carthage. The lapsed of the lax party, not being penitents, were not admissible on the new conditions; the party had increased to a number reckoned scarcely smaller than the Catholics ( Ep. 59, xxi. 17), but the milder terms now offered would diminish them. The leaders therefore needed a more positive basis ( Ep. 59, xv. xvi. ), and being taunted as the only unepiscopal body among Christians ( Ep. 43, v.), procured the adhesion of Privatus, a deposed bishop ( Ep. 59, xiii.), and consecrated Fortunatus a second anti-bishop in Carthage by the hands of five bishops. This fact was immensely exaggerated (59, xiv. 11), and Felicissimus sailed to Rome as legate of his new chief, hoping that a recognition might be procured for numbers which would be useful against Novatianism. They reported the unpopularity of Cyprian at Carthage, and threatened to appeal, if rejected, to the Roman laity ( Ep. 59, ii. iii. xxv.). Cornelius was disconcerted. Cyprian's observations on this, which begin in a half sarcastic tone ( Ep. 59, ii.), rise to glowing indignation, as he narrates the overwhelming work at this moment entailed on him by the examination in presence of the plebes of the returning schismatics and libellatics. The demand for strictness in readmission comes (as usual after times of trial) from the mass
The leniency of the bishop and council, the gross mistake of a rival episcopacy, and the popular claim for discipline, rapidly broke up the party (59, xxi.) and reduced its congregation to a handful.
Clerical Appeals under the Same Regulations .â€”It is not safe to assert that the terms of readmission for clerics were considered separately at the second council, but immediately after it is accepted that lapsed bishops and clerks could never resume orders (Ep. 55, ix.). In Ep. 65 Cyprian rests this on the Levitical institution and on his own visions. In Ep. 67, vi., however, he speaks of all bishops being agreed on this. In Ep. 72, iii., four years later, the principle extends to presbyters and deacons who had taken part in a heresy or schism. And at first sight it presents a singularly contradictory appearance of laxity that only Novatianists and Donatists held the indelibility of orders to be such that their recanting bishops resumed their functions (Optatus, i. p. 27). There are three cases: (1) Therapius, bp. of Bulla, admits Victor, a lapsed presbyter, without due penance. Fidus, bp., reports this to the third council of 67 bishops (a.d. 253), considering that Victor should be re-excommunicated. The council decline to rescind the boon of "God's priest," but censure Therapius, apparently in his place ( Ep. 64â€” objurgare et instruxisse ), for neglecting the terms of the second council without any consultation of the laity. The same letter (ad Fidum, 64.) contains an important decision as to age of baptism. [FIDUS.] (2) Fortunatus, bp. of Assurae, lapsed, and in his place was elected Epictetus; but the lapsed party ( Ep. 65, v. iii.) on their return claimed for him the function and emoluments. The ground of order would have been sufficient; but Cyprian, with his characteristic error, urges the vitiation of any church function discharged by an unworthy minister, and recommends individual canvassing, if necessary, to unite the flock under Epictetus. (3) The most important case is that of Basilides and Martial, in a.d. 254, when the Spanish churches of Leon, Astorga, and Merida appeal to Cyprian against the negligent decision of Stephanus, now bp. of Rome, in favour of the restoration of their lapsed bishops. The letter of the Carthaginian council of 37 bishops, a.d. 254 ( Ep. 67), penned by Cyprian, declares the verdict of the bp. of Rome mistaken and to be disregarded. This letter also insists on the duty of a laity to withdraw from communion with a "sacrilegious" or "sinful" bishop, and marks the universal sense that there resided in a congregation no power to make valid the sacramental acts of a nominee who lacked the note of true orders ( Ep. 67, iii.; cf. Routh, vol. iii. p. 152).
Practical Organizations and Christian Culture .â€”(a ) Captivity .â€”During the session of the council an extensive raid was executed by the Berbers, who, severely ruled as they were without any attempt to civilize them, were beginning that steady advance on Numidia which in a few years replaced the whole range of Ferratus in their possession. In 252 their front line reached from Thubunae on the salt marsh to the terebinth forests of Tucca, and they deported large numbers of the Christians of no less than eight sees. Several inscriptions relate to this invasion (see Revue Afric. vols. iv. vii. viii.). About Â£800 were subscribed by the 60 bishops and Carthaginian community ( Ep. 62), and sent to them.
(b ) Plague .â€”But the great field on which the expanding powers of humanity were gathered up and animated by the church was opened by the great plague which reached Carthage in a.d. 252, having travelled two years from Ethiopia through Egypt. Great physical disturbances had preceded it (ad Dem. ii. 1, vii. 5). The eruption and the brain affection which marked the plague of Athens are not recorded of this; nor yet the pulmonary symptoms, which, perhaps, were not developed in the African climate. The other symptoms seem to be identical, and the devastation far more awful, extensive, and enduring. It lasted 20 years; reduced the population of Alexandria by half; destroyed the armies of Valerian before Sapor; kept the Goths off the Thracian border, and for some time killed 5,000 persons daily in Rome (Eutrop. ix. v.; Hist. Aug. Galli, v. p. 177; Dionys. ap. Eus. vii. 22; Greg. Nys. Vit. Greg. Thaum. Â§ 12). The efforts of the Emperors Gallus and Valerian in burying the dead were appreciated, otherwise their efforts were confined to supplications to Saturn and Apollo. (See three types of coins of Gallus in British Museum, and see Cohen, MÃ©dailles ImpÃ©r. vol. iv. p. 270; Bandusi, vol. i. p. 58.) Horrible scenes of desertion and spoliation ensued in Carthage as in Athens ( Pontii Vit. Cyp. and Cyp. ad Dem. 10 , 11 ), when universal physical terror or audacity overpowered all other sentiments. As in Neo-Caesarea and Alexandria so in Carthage, the Christian clergy stood out as the first champions of life, health, and feeling. Cyprian addressed his community in a speech, which it was wished could have been delivered to the city from the rostrum, on the duty and divineness of prayer and help to the persecutors ( Respondere Natalibus was his watchword), and then proposed and carried a scheme for the systematic care of the city. Filled with his motives and under his influence rich and poor undertook the parts he assigned, raised a large fund, formed a nursing staff and burial staff, and allowed no religious distinction in their ministrations. But their abstinence from religious processions and sacrifices marked the Christians as enemies of God and man, and the "overseer of the Christians" was demanded by name for a contest with a lion ( Epp. 59, viii.; 66, 44). The terrible work lasted on till his exile five years later, as we must conclude from Pontius's juxtaposition of the events, with his remark that exile was the reward for "withdrawing from human sight a horror like hell."
(c ) Ad Demetrianum .â€”Their chief foe was an aged magistrate (sub ipso exitu Dem. 25 ), not the pro-consul (Pearson), but perhaps one of the five primores, formerly an inquirer into the truth of Christianity, in Cyprian's own friendship (i.), now himself an inventor of accusations (c. 2) and tortures, xii. (10). The pamphlet in which Cyprian assails him is much wider in its aim than Tertullian's ad Scapulam; both have the remonstrance against the suppression of the one natural worship, the appeal to the demeanour of the now prevalent sect (pars paene major cujusque civitatis), to the effects of exorcism, and the influence through suffering of the Christians. But while Tertullian for once refrains from denunciation, and is almost gentle in his examples of warning, Cyprian's object is wider; he answers the question, "Whence all this political and this physical misery?" The heathen answer attributed it to the divine displeasure at toleration. Cyprian accepts also a certain theory of mundane decrepitude, but bases his real reply on the general dissolution of the bonds of society; an important passage, perhaps the very earliest on slavery (viii. ), marks the exact stage reached by the Christian consciousness on this subject. So also the theory of Resentment is exhibited in a certain stage of purification, though some of the language would be intolerable now. The eternal conservation of beings for eternal suffering is laid down (xxiv. 21). The most original part of the essay is the development for the first time of the theory of Probation (already struck out in his slightly earlier epistle 58 to Thibaris) as grouping the phenomena of humanity. Jerome hastily ( Ep. 83 ad Magn.; Lact. Inst. 5, 4.) criticizes Cyprian for advancing scriptural proofs to a heathen. But (1) Demetrian already knew something of Christianity; (2) Cyprian does not quote authors' names, as to one familiar; (3) he quotes nothing but plainly fulfilled predictions. All which (as well as the classical tone and quotations) fits the case exactly, and answers Rettberg's incompetent conjecture that Demetrian is a fancy figure.
(d ) On the Mortality .â€”This treatise, or epistle as Augustine calls it (he quotes it no less than six times), presents to the Christians the consolatory primitive view of the topics set threateningly before Demetrian. It is meant to elevate their view of both the persecution and the plague, from which some expected providential exemptions, while others hated it only as an interference with martyrdom; he explains his theory of probation and of predictions as evidencing a divine plan. He cannot reject, but he gives a Christian turn to the general belief in the world's decay; urges organizations for relief of suffering; treats moral causes in society as affecting general and even physical phenomena. In c. xxvi. occurs what seems more than a coincidence with phrases in the Te Deum. In c. xx. he condemns the use of black for mourners.
(e ) On Work and Alms .â€”A pastoral, which may indeed be connected with the incidents of Ep. 62, but more probably has a wider reference to the demands made by the plague and coincident troubles on the exertions and liberality of the Christians. Among circumstances known to us directly it would be more natural to link it to the great speech which Pontius mentions as having been delivered at that time to the community. Here again we find Cyprian working out the new faith into a life-system; philosophically (as in a kind of Tusculan) adjusting moral feeling and practice to the newly gained higher facts about God and Man. See cc. ix. x. xi. practically developing that "loss is gain," and "gain is loss," to those who are within the care of Christ, xvi. Christianity becomes a social element which uplifts the poor; their claims take precedence of family claims; the possession of a family only increases the obligation to Christ's poor.â€”In xxii. is a bold passage, almost Goethesque, in which Satan apostrophizes Christ on the superior liberality of his own school.â€”The doctrine of the first part iâ€“vii. develops the unfortunate conception (roundly stated in Ep. 55, xviii. ) of good works acting on sins done after baptism, as baptism acts to remit former sin. Neander ( Ch. Hist. vol. i. p. 391, Bohn) remarks that while this same thought appears in Tertullian ( de Poenit. ), yet no one person can be regarded as the author of it. It is a natural and popular materialistic germ of the doctrines of Rome on penance.
(f ) The Exhortation to Confessorship is a practical manual of Scripture passages, connected by brief remarks, under 13 heads of reflection; compiled at the request of a layman, Fortunatus. Its existence sufficiently indicates the extent of suffering which a persecution developed. A more sober tone as to the perfections of the martyrs is perceptible. The introduction of the seven Maccabees not only as examples, but as a type of unity ( ad Fort. xi.), dates this as later than de Unitate, where every other possible type is accumulated but not this one. The teaching on probation also marks the stage of his thoughts. He computes the world to be near 6,000 years old ( ad Fort. ii.; cf. Tert. de V. V. i.).
(g ) On the Lord's Prayer .â€”To promote intelligent devotion was his next aim. This treatise is written with precision and with visible delight. The time is clearly shewn by his deductions on unity (xxiv.; cf. de Unit, xiv. ); on the danger of withholding communion from penitents ( de Or. xviii.), and on the confessor's temptations to arrogance (xxiv.). Cyprian follows Tertullian freely, not transcribing as before; adopts the African "ne nos patiaris induci" without remark (cf. Aug. de Dono Persev. vi. 12), and "fiat in caelo" ( id. iii. 6); illustrates more fully from Scripture, and uses a different version. His silence probably evinces Tertullian's success in remonstrating against superstitious observances in praying (Tert. Deor. xi. xvi.), and he does not, like his "master," hail the "confusion of nations" as a mark of the kingdom; but in his expansion of the symbolism of praying thrice a day we have the earliest use of Trinitas in Latin as a name of Deity (in Tert. adv. Prax. 3, it is not exactly this). In a.d. 427 Augustine ( Ep. ccxv.) used the treatise successfully with the monks of Adrumetum to prove the Pelagian errors contrary to the Cyprianic doctrine. He quotes this short treatise of " victoriosissimus Cyprianus " elsewhere 13 times to the same effect. Yet not one term occurs in it which became technical in that controversyâ€”a fact which would alone evince its early date. Mr. Shepherd, however (Fourth Letter to Dr. Maitland, 1853), has undertaken to prove that its writer was acquainted with the work of Chromatius (d. a.d. 406) and is more "sacramental" than that author, Gregory Nyssen, or Chrysostom, and than Augustine's doubt as to the application of the "daily bread" allows; he observes that Venantius (6th cent.) does not use it, though his predecessor, Hilary, refers the readers of his commentary to it in preference to commenting himself; having thus satisfied himself of the lateness of the Cyprianic treatise, Mr. Shepherd therefore asperses the genuineness of the great Augustinian works which cite it. A critical comparison with Chromatius would require a minuteness and space here inadmissible, but the result of such investigation leaves no doubt that Cyprian is the middle term between Tertullian and Chromatics. Briefly, Chromatius knows no argument or illustration of Tertullian's which Cyprian has not employed; almost every one of these has in Chromatius (though a most condensed prosaic writer) some additional Cyprianic touch or colour adhering to it. Observe too Chromatius's insertion of the negative, in his qui necdum crediderun (Â§ iv.), in mistaken elucidation of Cyprian's obscure in illis credentibus (Â§ xvii.) precisely as later MSS. and editors have altered it. As to the Eucharistic language about daily bread, it is admittedly not more strong than in other Cyprianic treatises, nor visibly stronger than Chromatics. The Antiochene Fathers of course are not Eucharistic in this clause, because they followed Origen's interpretation of ἐπιούσιος . Augustine will not strictly limit the petition to the Eucharist (though for singular reasons, Serm. 56, 57, 58), but his more analytical, yet more mystical treatment of it is distinctly, in a later mood than the simply moral handling of Cyprian. That Venantius does not mention Cyprian in his unfinished treatise surely demands no explanation. His aim is more theological and his language very compressed. But tinges of Cyprian are perceptible in the passages on Sonship; perseverance; reigning with Christ; resistance to God's will, and ourselves being made heavenly to do it; but we may add that Ambrose's omission to comment on vv. 1â€“5 of c. xi. is inexplicable, except for the existence of some standard treatise, such as is mentioned by Hilary (Mt. V.): "De orationis sacramento necessitate nos commentandi Cyprianus liberavit."
Interval .â€”Cornelius's exile, with others, to Civita Vecchia, his decease in June 253, as a martyr, in the then sense of the word, the short episcopate of Lucius, his exile, speedy return, and death, not later than Mark 5, a.d. 254 (Cyp. Epp. 60, 61, 67, 68), find place in Cyprian's correspondence, not without some undue exaggerations, as when he compares the reappearance of Lucius to that of John Baptist, as heralding the advent. Not later than this we place the epistle (63) to bp. Caecilius, reproving the omission of wine in the chalice, and distinctly indicating the symbolical importance of a mixed cup; the necessity of a congregation to constitute a sacrament; the irregularity of evening communion. To Sept. 253, and its council of 66 bishops, belongs the condemnation of the postponing for even a few days, on ritual grounds, the administration of the other sacrament to infants. To it belongs the affair of Therapius, as above.
Changed Relations with Rome, and Cyprian's Error of Rebaptism .â€”In a.d. 254 Easter was on April 23; Stephanus was made bp. of Rome May 12; the Carthaginian council met towards autumn (September ?). It had seemed to Cyprian a token of divine displeasure with the Novatianists that they did not suffer with the church; and their prosperity might have seemed to form Stephen's policy in so anti-puritan a mould, except for his overindulgence to Marcion, the Novatianist bp. of Arles (Ep. 68); but his was rather a policy of general resistance to the spiritual power compacted by Cyprian and Cornelius; a policy of the widest comprehension on the one basis of submissiveness to his see. The cases of Basilides and Martial have been mentioned. Cyprian's tone to him is one of both compassion and dictation ( Ep. 68), and from his letter to Florentius Pupienus (66) it is plain that others besides Stephen felt, rightly or wrongly, more than aversion to the immense influence of Cyprian. And, although the whole church has decided that Stephen was right in the great controversy which arose, it was long before his character recovered the shock of his impetuous collision with Cyprian, and grew capable of his fictitious crown of martyrdom. The next group of documents belongs to a.d. 255 and 256, and is occupied with the controversy on rebaptism ( Epp. 69â€“75, Sentt. Epp. lxxxvii.). For though Cyprian objects to that term ( Ep. 73, i.), catholic doctrine insists on the assertion it involves. Notwithstanding the council of Agrippinus, and the reception of thousands of heretics by rebaptism in the African church ( Ep. 73, iii.), numbers had been readmitted without it ( Ep. 73, xxiii.; Aug. says the practice had fallen off). On the other hand, though Stephen appeals to the constant tradition of his church against rebaptizing, this is simply to ignore the action of Callistus (Hippolytus, p. 291, a passage which is against the idea of that author's Novatianism, but which Hefele monstrously wants to apply to Agrippinus [ Hist. des Conciles, vol. i. p. 87, Paris]). An allusion to Stephen ( Ep. 69, x.) seems to imply that Stephen stirred the question first. Rettberg considers, after Maran, that his Oriental dispute had already occurred p. 170). So Hefele. But this is not necessary. Cyprian ( de Un. xi.) early committed himself to language as strong as he ever used again. The original inquiry is whether the non-heretical Novatianists, baptized as such, can be received to catholic communion. It extended itself (73, iv.), until the cases of Marcionites and even Ophites were debated; Stephen would include, and Cyprian exclude, all. At first the difficulty was only "Is not the exclusive African practice itself a Novatianist markâ€”being otherwise used only in that sect?" Our briefest method will be first to enumerate the documents, and then to classify their often repeated arguments.
(1) Magnus, a layman, makes the first application, and is replied to by Cyprian with affectionate respect (Ep. 69). (2) The bishops of Numidia, who, though without formal vote, had adopted the practice, apply next; the reply is from 33 bishops of Africa, with the presbyters of Carthage ( Ep. 71). This is Cyprian's 5th Council and 1st on Baptism. Ep. 70 is their conciliar declaration of the necessity of (re)baptism. (3) A Mauritanian bishop, Quintus, is answered in Ep. 71, enclosing Ep. 70, now widely circulated (71, iv.), breathing an injured tone as towards Stephen, and indicating that the council had not been unanimous ( Ep. 71, i., plurimi . . . nescic qua praesumptione quidam). (4) The de Bono Patientiae was published about this time, to be, without one word upon the subject matter of the controversy, a calming voice in the rising storm. The de Zelo et Livore is generally (and probably) thought to be a very little later in date, and similar in purpose. It is equally reticent on passing events, unless (in vi. 5) there may be an allusion to Novatian. There are a few close verbal resemblances between the two treatises, especially in de Pat. xix. (11) and de Zelo , iv. and v. (5) Next year, a.d. 256, the 6th Council under Cyprian and 2 nd on Baptism, composed of 71 bishops, Numidian and African, unanimously reaffirm the opinion in an unconciliatory synodical epistle to Stephen, conscious of the offence they will give, and enclosing Epp. 70 and 71. This epistle is mentioned by Jerome, adv. Lucif. But Augustine ( Resp. ad Epp. 15) seems not to have seen it, which is strange. (6) Jubaian, a bp. of Mauritania, forwards to Cyprian a copy of a paper there circulating, with some authority, which recognizes even Marcion's baptism ( Ep. 73, iv.). It may have been issued by one of those native bishops who dissented ( Sentt. Epp. 59, 38, and cf. Aug. Resp. ad Epp. 52, con. Donat. vii. 16, 6). Rettberg agrees with "Constant. Ep. Pontif. p. 226," that it was Stephen's letter to the East. Cyprian sent Jubaian a reply so elaborate that, at the final council, he read it aloud as his own best exposition of his views, with Jubaian's convinced answer. Cyprian's letter was accompanied with all the documents sent to Stephen, and a copy of his Patience . (7) A deputation of bishops waited on Stephen but were not received (Ep. 75, xxv.); the letter which they bore was answere