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transferred to Chalcedon, in the year 451. It was assembled at the earnest entreaty of all the orthodox bishops, for the purpose of reversing the unlawful and heretical proceedings at Ephesus, and of obtaining the judgment of the whole Church upon the opinions which had been broached by the monk Eutyches. This individual had fallen into the exactly opposite error to that of Nestorius, which was condemned at the first council of Ephesus. For so far from allowing our Lord to have had two persons, he denied that he had two natures; maintaining that the human body which he received of the Virgin was not real flesh and blood, but merely the appearance of it, so that all his sufferings were in appearance also, and not real. (We find Ignatius in the second century contending against a similar error, as appears by his epistle to the Trallians.) The council condemned and deposed Dioscorus for his proceedings above-mentioned, reversed the acts of the second synod of Ephesus, and confirmed the Catholic faith in the reality of the two natures in the One Person of our Lord. They also passed thirty canons (M) relating to ecclesiastical jurisdiction and discipline in general. They confirmed also the decree of the first synod of Ephesus concerning the faith. (Labbé and Cossart, iv. 1–10.)



The fifth synod, to which the style and authority of a General Council has been allowed by the Catholic Church, is that of 165 bishops, assembled under the command of the Emperor Justinian the younger, in the year. 553, at Constantinople; in which certain writings of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia, and of Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, (commonly known as “the three chapters,") which savoured of the Nestorian heresy, were condemned. There were no Western bishops present at it. Vigilius, Bishop of Rome, who was in Constantinople at the time, refused to be present, and sent to the emperor a decree contrary to the course which the council was taking. The council, notwithstanding, persisted, and passed with anathema, resolutions, contrary to his decrees. (Baron. Annal. Eccles. ad ann. 553.) Vigilius, refusing to subscribe to these resolutions, was sent into exile , by the emperor, and at last consented to give his approbation. The Roman writers are hard put to it to vindicate the authority of the Bishop of Rome in this matter; and it is curious to see the different and inconsistent grounds of defence adopted by Baronius, Binius, De Marca, and which may be found in Labbé and Cossart, v. 601.731. I confess it seems to me that they might have spared themselves the trouble, as far as Vigilius is concerned. When it is known that this wretched being procured the uncanonical deposition of his predecessor, Silverius, by bribery to the Roman general Belisarius ; that he procured his own election to the Popedom, during the lifetime of his un


canonically deposed predecessor, by violence; and secured himself in it by putting Silverius to death ; impartial persons will agree in thinking that the See of Rome must be considered to have been at this time vacant. The account is given in the Breviarium Literati Diaconi, in Labbé and Cossart, v. 775.


The sixth synod to which the name and authority of a General Council has been ascribed by the Catholic Church, is that composed of 289 bishops, assembled under the command of the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, in the year 680. They met to condemn a new heresy-a branch of the Eutychian; by which it was asserted that after the union of the two natures of Christ, there remained but one will; hence those who advocated this doctrine were called Monothelites. In this council Honorius, the deceased Bishop of Rome, was condemned of heresy, and his books ordered to be burned (N).—Labbé and Cossart, vi. 587 et seq.

Constantinople, A. D. 692.

The two last councils having edited no canons, the Emperor Justinian, at the request of the bishops, ordered another General Council to be assembled at Constantinople, in the year 692; for the purpose of supplying the deficiencies of the former. The


assembly, as far as its constitution went, had more claim to the character of a General Council than many to which both the title and authority has been ascribed. It consisted of upwards of 200 bishops, among whom were representatives of the Bishop of Rome, the other great patriarchs being all present in person; and the decrees were signed by all, not omitting the emperor, whose name appears first on the list. The council assumed the style of “the Holy and Universal Synod.” But its decrees were not received at Rome, because many of them were contrary to the Roman customs (o).” Thus another proof is afforded that the claim of a synod to the estimation of a General Council (P), depends entirely upon the general or universal reception of its decrees by the Catholic Church; and that no council is to be accounted general or universal, whose decrees are not generally or universally received by the Catholic Church. -Labbé and Cossart, vi. 1123_-31–85, 1317.




Note (A), PAGE 7.

Prior to this there had been many councils, but none that claimed to be, or was considered a council of the whole Church. These different councils had, however, put forth canons which were collected and formed into a code, sometimes called apostolical, sometimes primitive or ante-Nicene. To some of the canons in this code reference is made in the council of Nice and those subsequent to it, as well as by individual writers. See Beveridge's Codex Primitivæ Ecclesiæ Vindicatus.

Note (B), PAGE 7.

The number of bishops is variously stated; by some 270, by others 318. The general opinion inclines to the latter number. (See Beveridge's Notes on the Council in the second volume of his Pandect.) The Emperor Constantine was present in person. The bishop of Rome, by reason of infirmity, was absent, but sent two presbyters to subscribe in his stead. The Roman writers do not hesitate to assert that these presbyters, together with Hosius, bishop of Cordova, presided in the council (Labbé and Cossart, ii. 3.); an assertion destitute of all

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