p. 67 Testimonies of the Ancients Against Eusebius.
From the Epistle of Arius to Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia (in Theodorets Eccles. Hist. I. 5). 8
“Eusebius, your brother bishop of Cæsarea, Theodotius, Paulinus, Athanasius, Gregory, Ætius, and all the bishops of the East, have been condemned because they say that God had an existence prior to that of his Son.”
“Having happened upon a letter of Narcissus, bishop of Neronias, which he wrote to one Chrestus and to Euphronius and to Eusebius, in which it seems that Hosius, the bishop, had asked him whether or not like Eusebius of Palestine he believed in the existence of two essences, I read in the writing that he answered that he believed in the existence of three essences.”
“For what sort of a council of bishops was that? What sort of an assembly having truth for its aim? Who out of the great majority of them was not our enemy? Did not the followers of Eusebius rise up against us on account of the Arian madness? Did not they bring forward the others who held the same opinions as themselves? Were we not continually writing against them as against those who held the opinions of Arius? Was not Eusebius of Cæsarea in Palestine accused by our confessors of sacrificing?”
“The emperor upon hearing these things becomes very angry and orders that a synod be convoked in Phœnicia in the city of Tyre; he also gave orders that Eusebius and some others should act as judges: these persons moreover had leaned somewhat too far toward the vulgarity of the Arians. There were also summoned the bishops of the Catholic Church in Egypt, also certain men subject to Athanasius, who were likewise great and who kept their lives transparent before God, among whom was the great Potamo of blessed memory, bishop and confessor of Heraclea. But there were also present Meletians, the chief accusers of Athanasius. Being zealous for truth and for orthodoxy, the above-mentioned Potamo of blessed memory, a free-spoken man, who regarded the person of no man,—for he had been deprived of an eye in the persecution for the truth,—seeing Eusebius sitting down and acting as judge, and Athanasius standing up, overcome by grief and weeping, as is the wont with true men, he addressed Eusebius in a loud voice, saying, Dost thou sit down, Eusebius, and is Athanasius, an innocent man, judged by thee? Who could bear such things? Do thou tell me, wert thou not in confinement with me at the time of the persecution? I have parted with an eye for the sake of the truth, but thou neither seemest to be maimed at all in body, nor hast thou suffered martyrdom, but art alive, and in no part mutilated. How didst thou escape from the confinement unless that thou didst promise those who have inflicted upon us the violence of persecution to perform the ungodly act, or didst actually perform it?”
“The strange thing is that Eusebius of Cæsarea in Palestine, who had denied on one day, but on the next day had subscribed, sent to his church, saying that this is the faith of the Church, p. 68 and that this is the tradition of the Fathers. He plainly showed to all that before they had been in error, and had been vainly striving after the truth; for although he was then ashamed to write in just these terms, and excused himself to the Church as he himself wished, yet he plainly wishes to imply this in his Epistle, by his not denying the Homoöusion, one in substance, and of the substance. He got into serious difficulty, for in defending himself, he went on to accuse the Arians, because, having written that the Son did not exist before that he was begotten, they thereby denied that he existed before his birth in the flesh.”
“Most of all, what would Acacius say to Eusebius his own teacher? who not only signed in the synod at Nicæa, but also made it known by letter to the people under him that that was the true faith, which had been agreed upon at the council of Nicæa; for although he defended himself as he pleased through the letter, yet he did not deny the grounds taken. But he also accused the Arians, since, in saying that the Son did not exist before that he was begotten, they also deny that he existed before Mary.”
“This also was known all the while to Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, who, at first identifying himself with the Arian heresy, and having afterwards signed at the self-same synod of Nicæa, wrote to his own particular friends, firmly maintaining that, We have known of certain learned and renowned bishops and writers among the ancients who have used the term ὁμοούσιος in reference to the divinity of the Father and Son.”
“He did this in the name of the holy martyr Pamphilus, that he might designate with the name of the martyr Pamphilus the first of the six books in defense of Origen which were written by Eusebius of Cæsarea, whom every one knows to have been an Arian.”
“Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, of whom I have made mention above, in the sixth book of his Apology in behalf of Origen, lays this same charge against Methodius the bishop and martyr, which you lay against me in my praises [of him]; he says: How did Methodius dare to write against Origen after having said this and that concerning his opinions? This is no place to speak in behalf of a martyr, for not all things ought to be discussed in all places. Now let it suffice to have barely touched upon the matter, that this same thing was charged against a most renowned and most eloquent martyr by an Arian, which you as a friend praise in me, and, being offended, censure me for.”
“Eusebius Pamphilus says that immediately after the Synod Egypt became agitated by intestine divisions; but as he does not assign the reason for this, some have accused him of disingenuousness, and have even attributed his failure to specify the causes of these dissensions to a determination on his part not to give his sanction to the proceedings at Nice.”
p. 69 Again, in the same chapter.
“Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, accuses Eusebius Pamphilus of perverting the Nicene Creed; but Eusebius denies that he violates that exposition of the faith, and recriminates, saying that Eustathius was a defender of the opinion of Sabellius. In consequence of these misunderstandings, each of them wrote volumes as if contending against adversaries: and although it was admitted on both sides that the Son of God has a distinct person and existence, and all acknowledged that there is one God in a Trinity of Persons; yet, from what cause I am unable to divine, they could not agree among themselves, and therefore were never at peace.”
“Moreover, Theodore of Mopsuestia relates that there were only nine persons out of all whom the decrees of the Synod did not please, and that their names are as follows: Theognis of Nicæa, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Patrophilus of Scythopolis, Eusebius of Cæsarea in Palestine, Narcissus of Neronias in Cilicia, which is now called Irenopolis, Paulinus of Tyre, Menophantus of Ephesus, Secundus of Ptolemaïs, which borders upon Egypt, and Theonas of Marmarica.” 9
“I deny that the man has yet arrived at an accurate knowledge of the doctrines; wherefore he ought to be given place to so far as regards his great learning, but as regards his knowledge of doctrine he ought not. But, moreover, we know him to have been altogether lacking in such accurate knowledge.”
“So now, that we may not seem to be trampling upon the man,—concerning whom it is not our purpose for the present to speak,—examining into the accuracy of his Apology, we may go on to show that both were heretics, both he who composed the Apology, and he in whose behalf it was composed.”
“For as to your attempting to show that others as well as he [Origen] have spoken of the subordination of the Son to the Father, we may not at first wonder at it, for such is your opinion and that of your followers; wherefore we say nothing concerning this matter for the present, since it was long ago submitted and condemned at the general Council.”
“For who of the faithful ones in the Church, and who of those who have obtained a knowledge of true doctrine, does not know that Eusebius Pamphili has given himself over to false ways of thinking, and has become of the same opinion and of the same mind with those who follow after the opinions of Arius? In all his historical books he calls the Son and Word of God a creature, a servant, and to be adored as second in rank. But if any speaking in his defense say that he subscribed in the council, we may admit that that is true; but while with his lips he has respected the truth, in his heart he is far from it, as all his writings and epistles go to show. But if from time to time, on account of circumstances or from different causes, he has become confused or has changed around, sometimes praising those who hold to the doctrines of Arius, and at other times feigning the truth, he shows himself to be, according to James the brother of our Lord, a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways; and let him not think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. For if with the heart he had believed unto righteousness, and with the mouth had confessed the truth unto salvation, he would have asked forgiveness for his writings, at the same time correcting them. But this he has by no means done, for he remained like Æthiops with his skin unchanged. In interpreting the verse I said to the Lord, Thou art my Lord, he has strayed far away from the true sense, for this is what he says: By the laws of nature every sons father p. 70 must be his lord; wherefore God who begat him must be at the same time God, Lord, and Father of the only-begotten Son of God. So also in his epistle to the holy Alexander, the teacher of the great Athanasius, which begins thus: With what anxiety and with what care have I set about writing this letter, in most open blasphemy he speaks as follows concerning Arius and his followers: Thy letter accuses them of saying that the Son was made out of nothing, like all men. But they have produced their own epistle which they wrote to thee, in which they give an account of their faith, and expressly confess that “the God of the law and of the prophets and of the New Testament, before eternal ages begat an only-begotten Son, through whom also he made the ages and the universe; and that he begat him not in appearance, but in truth, and subjected him to his own will, unchangeable and immutable, a perfect creature of God, but not as one of the creatures.” If, therefore, the letter received from them tells the truth, they wholly contradict thee, in that they confess that the Son of God who existed before eternal ages, and through whom he made the world, is unchangeable and a perfect creature of God, but not as one of the creatures. But thy epistle accuses them of saying that the Son was made as one of the creatures. They do not say this, but clearly declare that he was not as one of the creatures. See if cause is not immediately given them again to attack and to misrepresent whatever they please. Again thou findest fault with them for saying that He who is begat him who was not. I wonder if any one is able to say anything else than that. For if He who is is one, it is plain that everything has been made by Him and after Him. But if He who is is not the only one, but there was also a Son existing, how did He who is beget him who was existing? For thus those existing would be two. These things then Eusebius wrote to the illustrious Alexander; but there are also other epistles of his directed to the same holy man, in which are found various blasphemies in defense of the followers of Arius. So also, in writing to the bishop Euphration, he blasphemes most openly; his letter begins thus: I return to my Lord all thanks; and farther on: For we do not say that the Son was with the Father, but that the Father was before the Son. But the Son of God himself, knowing well that he was greater than all, and knowing that he was other than the Father, and less than and subject to Him, very piously teaches this to us also when he says, “The Father who sent me is greater than I.” And farther on: Since the Son also is himself God, but not true God. So then from these writings of his he shows that he holds to the doctrines of Arius and his followers. And with this rebellious heresy of theirs the inventors of that Arian madness hold to one nature in hypostatic union, and affirm that our Lord took upon himself a body without soul, in his scheme of redemption, affirming that the divine nature supplied the purposes and movements of the soul: that, as Gregory the Divine says, they may ascribe suffering to the Deity; and it is evident that those who ascribe suffering to the Deity are Patripassians. Those who share in this heresy do not allow images, as the impious Severus did not, and Peter Cnapheus, and Philoxenus of Hierapolis, and all their followers, the many-headed yet headless hydra. So then Eusebius, who belongs to this faction, as has been shown from his epistles and historical writings, as a Patripassian rejected the image of Christ,” etc. 10
“That Eusebius (whether slave or friend of Pamphilus I know not) was carried off by Arianism, his books loudly proclaim. And he, feeling repentance as he pretends, and against his will, confesses to his infirmity; although by his repentance he rather shows that he has not repented. For he cannot show, by means of those writings in which he would seem to be defending himself, that he has withdrawn from his former heretical doctrines, nor can he show that he agreed with the holy and Œcumenical Synod. But he speaks of it as a marvel that the upholders of the Homoousion should concur with him in sentiment and agree with him in opinion: and this fact both many other things and the epistle written by him to his own people at Cæsarea accurately confirm. But that from the beginning he inwardly cherished the Arian doctrines, and that up to the end of his life he did not cease following them, many know, and it is easy to gather it from many sources; but that he shared also in the infirmity of Origen, namely, the error with regard to the common resurrection of us all, is to most persons unknown. But if thou thyself examine carefully his books, thou shalt see that he was none the less truly overcome by that deadly disease than he was by the Arian madness.”
“Of the Objection and Defense of Eusebius two books have been read; also other two, which although differing in some respects from the former two, are in other respects the same with regard p. 71 to both diction and thought. But he presents certain difficulties with regard to our blameless religion as having originated with the Greeks. These he correctly solves, although not in all cases. But as regards his diction, it is by no means either pleasing or brilliant. The man is indeed very learned, although as regards shrewdness of mind and firmness of character, as well as accuracy in doctrine, he is deficient. For also in many places in these books it is plain to be seen that he blasphemes against the Son, calling him a second cause, and general-in-chief, and other terms which have had their origin in the Arian madness. It seems that he flourished in the time of Constantine the Great. He was also an ardent admirer of the excellences of the holy martyr Pamphilus, for which cause some say that he took from him the surname Pamphili.”
“There has been read the work of Eusebius Pamphili In praise of the great emperor Constantine, consisting of four books. In this is contained the whole life of the man, starting with his very boyhood, also whatever deeds of his belong to ecclesiastical history, until he departed from life at the age of sixty-four. Eusebius is, however, even in this work, like himself in diction, except that his discourse has risen to a somewhat more than usual brilliancy, and that sometimes he has made use of more flowery expressions than he is wont. However, of pleasantness and beauty of expression there is little, as indeed is the case in his other works. He inserts, moreover, in this work of his in four books very many passages from the whole decalogue of his Ecclesiastical History. He says that Constantine the Great himself also was baptized in Nicomedia, he having put off his baptism until then, because he desired to be baptized in the Jordan. Who baptized him he does not clearly show. However, as to the heresy of Arius, he does not definitely state whether he holds that opinion, or whether he has changed; or even whether Arius held correct or incorrect views, although he ought to have made mention of these things, because the synod occupied an important place among the deeds of Constantine the Great, and it again demands a detailed account of them. But he does state that a controversy arose between Arius and Alexander (this is the name he cunningly gives to the heresy), and that the God-fearing prince was very much grieved at this controversy, and strove by epistles and through Hosius, who was then bishop of Cordova, to bring back the dissenting parties into peace and concord, they having laid aside the strife existing between them with regard to such questions; and that when he could not persuade them to do this he convoked a synod from all quarters, and that it dissolved into peace the strife that had arisen. These things, however, are not described accurately or clearly; it would seem then that he is ashamed, as it were, and does not wish to make public the vote cast against Arius in the Synod, and the just retribution of those who were his companions in impiety and who were cast out together with him. Finally, he does not even mention the terrible fate which was inflicted by God upon Arius in the sight of all. None of these things he brings to the light, nor has he drawn up an account of the Synod and the things that were done in it. Whence, also, when about to write a narrative concerning the divine Eustathius, he does not even mention his name, nor what things were threatened and executed against him; but referring these things also to sedition and tumult, he again speaks of the calmness of the bishops, who having been convened in Antioch by the zeal and cooperation of the Emperor, changed the sedition and tumult into peace. Likewise as to what things were maliciously contrived against the ever-conquering Athanasius, when he set about making his history cover these things, he says that Alexandria again was filled with sedition and tumult, and that this was calmed by the coming of the bishops, who had the imperial aid. But he by no means makes it clear who was the leader of the sedition, what sort of sedition it was, or by what means the strife was settled. He also keeps up almost the same mode of dissimulating in his account of the contentions existing among bishops with respect to doctrines, and their disagreements on other matters.”
“Even Eusebius Pamphili, bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, was at that time one of those who upheld the doctrines of Arius. He is said to have afterwards withdrawn from the opinion of Arius, and to have become of like mind with those who hold that the Son is coëqual and of the same nature with the Father, and to have been received into communion by the holy Fathers. Moreover, in the Acts of the first Synod, he is found to have defended the faithful. These things are found thus narrated by some; but he makes them to appear doubtful by certain things which he is seen to have written in his Ecclesiastical History. For in many places in the above-mentioned work he seems to be following after Arius. In the very beginning of his book, where he quotes David as saying, He spake and they were made, he commanded and they were estabp. 72 lished, he says that the Father and Maker is to be considered as maker and universal ruler, governing by a kingly nod, and that the second after him in authority, the divine Word, is subject to the commands of the Father. And farther on he says, that he, as being the power and wisdom of the Father, is entrusted with the second place in the kingdom and rule over all. And again, a little farther on, that there is also a certain essence, living and subsisting before the world, which ministers to the God and Father of the universe for the creation of things that are created. Also Solomon, in the person of the wisdom of God, says, The Lord created me in the beginning of his ways, etc., and farther on he says: And besides all this, as the pre-existent word of God, who also preëxisted before all ages created, he received divine honor from the Father, and is worshipped as God. These and other things show that Eusebius agreed with Arian doctrines, unless some one say that they were written before his conversion.”
“Diodorus, a monk, who was bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia, in the times of Julian and Valens, wrote divers works, as Theodorus Lector states in his Ecclesiastical History. These are as follows: A Chronicle, which corrects the error of Eusebius Pamphilus with regard to chronology,” etc.
“Eusebius Pamphili, a devotee of the Arian heresy, bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, a man zealous in the study of the holy Scriptures, and along with Pamphilus the martyr a most careful investigator of sacred literature, has published many books, among which are the following.” 11
Valesius inserts after this extract a brief and unimportant quotation from Eulogius of Alexandria, which, however, is so obscure,—severed as it is from its context, which is not accessible to me,—that no translation of it has been attempted.70:10
This extract is translated from the original Greek of the Acts of the Second Nicene Council, Act VI. Tom. V. (as given by Labbe and Cossartius in their Concilia, Tom. VII. p. 495 sq.). Valesius gives only a Latin translation, and that in a fragmentary form.72:11
The remainder of this extract from Sophronius is a translation of the chapter of Jeromes De Viris Illustribus, which is quoted above, on p. 60, and is therefore omitted at this point. Valesius adds some extracts from Baronius and Scaliger; but inasmuch as they are to be classed with modern rather than with ancient writers, it has seemed best to omit the quotations from their works.
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