, an Arian presbyter, or monk, of the fourth century, had a contest with Eustathius for the bishoprick of Sebastia and Armenia; and being disappointed, endeavoured to lessen the power and dignity of the episcopal order, by maintaining that bishops were not distinguished from presbyters by any divine right, but that according to the institution of the New Testament, their offices and authority were absolutely the same.As about this time there were some bishops who had given offence by their arrogance, these opinions of Ærius became highly popular, and he was enabled to form a considerable sect, named Brians. He also condemned prayers for the dead, stated fasts, and the celebration of Easter; but whether these were constituent principles with his followers, does not appear. Both they and he, however, were opposed by the Arians; and by the church at large, excluded from churches and cities, and obliged to associate in private places and deserts, as long as they continued a party. It is perhaps unnecessary to add, that their opinion respecting the equality of bishops and presbyters has been since adopted by the modern presbyterians, and has been ably combated by writers in favour of the established church. 2


Mosheim and Lardner.—Moreri.