Ætius

, a heretic of the fourth century, and by some surnamed The Atheist, as being tme of the first opposers of the doctrine of the Trinity, was born at Antioch, the son of a person reduced in his circumstances, and was consequently obliged to work at the trade of goldsmith for a livelihood. He afterwards studied, and with considerable success, at Alexandria, whence he returned to Antiech, and was ordained deacon by Leontius, then bishop of that city. What his principles were is not very clear. Theodoret says, he improved upon the bJasphemies of Arius j and for that reason was banished by the emperor Constantius into a remote part of Phrygia. The emperor | Julian recalled him, and enriched him with an estate Others insinuate that he was a defender of faith in opposition to works, and leaned to the Antinomian extreme. The displeasure of the orthodox, however, was such that he had the surname of Atheist. Athanasius gives him the same appellation, and Cave says, justly. Epiphanius has preserved a small book, containing forty-seven erroneous propositions of Ætius, which he answered. His followers were called, from his name, ætians. Their distinguishing principle was, that the Son and the Holy Ghost are in all things unlike the Father. 1

1

Lardner’s Works.—Cave, vol. I.