Imágenes de páginas

then, Eusebius attests that Pamphilus was then first known to him, it is sufficiently evident, that family alliance was not the tie that connected them.

In these times occurred that most severe persecution of the Christians, which was begun by Diocletian, and by his successors continued unto the tenth year. During this persecution, Eusebius, at that time being a presbyter of the church of Cæsarea, abode almost constantly in that city, and by continual exhortations, instructed many persons in order to martyrdom. Amongst whom was Apphianus, a noble youth, whose illustrious fortitude in martyrdom is related in Eusebius's book concerning the martyrs of Palestine. In the same year Pamphilus was cast into prison, where he spent two whole years in bonds. During which time, Eusebius by no means deserted his friend and companion, but visited him continually, and in the prison wrote, together with him, five books in defence of Origen; but the sixth and last book of that work, he finished after the death of Pamphilus.—That whole work was by Eusebius and Pamphilus dedicated* to Christian confessors,t living in the mines of Palestine. In the time of this persecution, on account, probably, of some urgent affairs of the church, Eusebius went to Tyre. During his residence there, he witnessed † the glorious martyrdom of five Egyptian Christians; and afterwards, on his arrival in Egypt and Thebais, the persecution then prevailing there, he $ beheld the admirable constancy of many martyrs of both sexes. Some have insinuated that Eusebius, to exempt himself in this persecution, from the troubles of a prison, sacrificed to idols; and that this was objected against him, as will be hereafter related, by the Egyptian bishops and confessors, in the synod at Tyre. But we doubt not that this is false, and that it was a calumny forged by the ene

This is affirmed by Photius in his Bibliotheca, chap. 118. † Though the word here employed by Valesius, is confessores, yet there cannot be the least doubt, that the characters to whom he alludes were very different from those which a more recent application of the term might intimate. Confessores were simply persons that had confessed and acknowledged openly, during the time of the persecution, that they were Christians, and would not, to save either their lives or property, deny their Master or his sacred cause. They were decided characters, tenaces propositi. This term was employed by Valesius, who lived in an age of the church when its use was popular.

Eusebius informs us of this in his Eighth Book, chap. 7. $ This he relates in the ninth chapter of the same Book.

mies of Eusebius. For had a crime so great been really committed by him, how could he have been afterwards appointed bishop of Cæsarea ? How is it likely that he should, in this case, have been invited by the Antiochians to undertake the episcopate of their city ? And yet Cardinal Baronius has seized on that as certain and undoubted, which by his enemies, for litigious purposes, was objected against Eusebius, but never confirmed by the testimony of any one. At the same time, a book was written by Eusebius against Hierocles. For Hierocles of Nicomedia, about the beginning of the persecution, when the Christian churches were everywhere harassed, in the city of Nicomedia, published, as an insult to a religion then assailed by all its enemies, two* books against the Christian faith. In which books he asserted, that Apollonius Tyaneus performed more and greater thingst than Christ. These impious assertions, Eusebius answered in a very short book, as if he regarded the man and his cause of little consequence.

Agapius, bishop of Cæsarea during this interval, being dead, the persecution subsiding, and peace being restored to the church, Eusebius, by common consent, succeeds to the episcopal dignity at Cæsa

Others represent Agricola, who subscribed to the synod of Ancyra, at which he was present in the 314th year of the Christian era, to be the successor of Agapius. This is affirmed by Baronius in his Annals; and Blondellus. The latter writes, that Eusebius undertook the administration of the church of Cæsarea, after the death of Agricola, about the year 315. But these subscriptions of the bishops extant only in the Latin collections of the canons, seem in our judgment to be entitled to little credit. For they occur not either in the Greek copies, or in the Latin versions of Dionysius Exiguus, Berides, Eusebius,ll enumerating the bishops of the principal diocesses, where the persecution began and raged, ends with the mention of Agapius bishop of Cæsarea ; who, he observes, laboured much, during that persecution, for the good of his own church. The necessary inference, therefore, is, that Agapius must have been bishop until the end of the persecution. But Eusebius was elevated to the


Which he termed ponad ngoos. † No word for “ miracles” occurs in the text of Valesius. # Ad. annum Christi, 314. $ In his Apology pro Sententiâ Hieronymi. c. 19. Val. | In the 7th Book of his Ecclesiactic Hist. chap. 32.

episcopal function immediately after that persecution. For after peace was restored to the church, Eusebius* and other prelates being invited by Paulinus bishop of Tyre, to the dedication of a cathedral, Eusebius made there a very eloquent oration. Now this happened before the rebellion of Licinius against Constantine, in the 315th year of the Christian era, about which period Eusebius wrote those celebrated books concerning Evangelic Demonstration and Preparation. And these books were certainly written before the Nicene Synod, since they are expressly mentioned in his Ecclesiastic History, which was written, as proved in our Annotations, before that council.

Meanwhile, Licinius, who managed the government in the eastern parts, excited by sudden rage, began to persecute the Christians, especially the prelates, whom he suspected of showing more favour, and of offering up more prayers for Constantine than for himself. Constantine, however, having defeated him in two battles by land and sea, compelled him to surrender, and restored peace to the Christians of the eastern countries.

A disturbance, however, far more grievous, arose at that time, amongst the Christians themselves. For since Arius, a presbyter of the city of Alexandria, would in the church, publicly advance some new and impious tenet relative to the Son of God, and notwithstanding repeated admonition by Alexander the bishop, persisted, he and his associates in this heresy, were at length expelled. Highly resenting this, Arius sent letters with a sketch of his own faith to all the bishops of the neighbouring cities, in which he complained, that since he asserted the same doctrines that the rest of the eastern prelates maintained, he had been unjustly deposed by Alexander. Many bishops imposed on by these artifices, and powerfully excited by Eusebius of Nicomedia, who openly favoured the Arian party, wrote letters in defence of Arius to Alexander bishop of Alexandria, entreating him to restore Arius to his former rank in the church, Our Eusebius was one of their number, whose letter written to Alex. ander is extant in the acts of the seventh Oecumenical Synod, which we have inserted amongst the testimoniest of the ancients. The

• As we are informed in the tenth book of his Ecclesiastic Hist. Val. See chap. 4, where Eusebius has inserted this oration.

+ Of these, Valesius, after his account of Eusebius's life and writings, presents a collection made by himself, both for and against Eusebius. q. v.


example of Eusebius of Cæsarea, was soon followed by Theodotius and Paulinus, the one bishop of Laodicea, the other of Tyre, who interceded with Alexander for Arius's restoration. Of which letter, since Arius boasted on every occasion, and by the authority of such eminent men, drew many into the participation of his heresy, Alexander was compelled to write to the other eastern bishops, that the justice of the expulsion of Arius and his associates might be understood. Two letters of Alexander's are yet extant; the one to Alexander bishop of Constantinople, in which the former complains of three Syrian bishops, who, agreeing with Arius, had more than ever inflamed that contest, which they ought rather to have suppressed. These three, as may be learned from Arius's letter to Eusebius bishop of Nicomedia, are Eusebius, Theodotius, and Paulinus. The other letter of Alexander's, written to all the bishops throughout the world, Socrates records in his first book. * To these letters of Alexander's, almost all the eastern bishops subscribed, amongst whom the most eminent were Philogonius bishop of Antioch, Eustathius of Beræa, and Macarius of Jerusalem.

The bishops who favoured the Arian party, especially Eusebius of Nicomedia, imagining themselves to be severely treated in Alexander's letters, devoted themselves with much greater acrimony to the defence of Arius. For our Eusebius of Cæsarea, together with Patrophilus, Paulinus, and other Syrian bishops, merely voted that liberty to Arius might be granted of holding, as a presbyter, assemblies in the church, subject notwithstanding to Alexander the bishop, and of imploring for reconciliation and church fellowship. The bishops disagreeing thus amongst themselves, some favouring the party of Alexander, and others that of Arius, the contest became singularly aggravated ; to remedy this, Constantine, from all parts of the Roman world, summoned to Nicæa, a city of Bythinia, a general synod of bishops, such as no age before had seen. In this greatest and most celebrated council, our Eusebius was not one of either party. For he both had the first seat on the right hand, and in the name of the whole synod addressed the emperor Constantine, who sat on a golden chair, between the two rows of the opposite parties. This is affirmed by Eusebius himself in his Lifet of Constantine, and by

Chap. 6. + In his preface to the first book concerning the life of Constantine, and in his third book of the same work, chap. ii.

Sozomen* in his Ecclesiastic History. Afterwards, when there was a considerable contest amongst the bishops, relative to a creed or form of faith, our Eusebius proposed a formula, at once simple and ortho dox, which received the general commendation both of the bishops and of the emperor himself. Something, notwithstanding, seeming to be wanting in the creed, to confute the impiety of the new opinion, the fathers of the Nicene Council, determined that these words, “ VERY GOD OF VERY GOD, BEGOTTEN NOT MADE, BEING OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE Father,” should be added. They also annexed anathemas against those who should assert that the Son of God was made of things not existing, and that there was a time when he existed not. At first, indeed, our Eusebius refused to admit the term * consubstantial,"'t but when the import of that word was explained to him by the other bishops, he consented, and as he himself relates in his letterf to his diocess at Cæsarea, subscribed to the creed. Some affirm that it was the necessity of circumstances, or the fear of the emperor, and not the conviction of his own mind, that compelled Eusebius to subscribe to the Nicene Council. Of some, present at the synod, this might be believed, but this we cannot think of Eusebius bishop of Cæsarea. After the Nicene Council, too, Eusebius always condemned those who asserted that the Son of God was made of things not existing. Athanasius likewise affirms the same concerning him, who though he frequently mentions that Eusebius subscribed to the Nicene Council, nowhere intimates that he did that in dissimulation. Had Eusebius subscribed to that Council, not accord. ing to his own mind, but fraudulently and in pretence, why did he afterwards send the letter we have mentioned to his diocess at Cæsarea, and therein ingenuously profess that he had embraced that faith which had been published in the Nicene Council ?

After that Council, the Arians through fear of the emperor, were, for a short time quiet. But by artfully ingratiating themselves into the favour of the prince, they resumed boldness, and began by every

• In the first book of that work, chap. 19.

† "Omoouosos, consubstantial, of the same substance, or of the same essence, Bential.

See this letter in Socrates, book i. chap. 8.

& This is evident from his books against Marcellus, particularly from the 9th and 10th chapters of his first book, De Ecclesiasticá Theologia.

« AnteriorContinuar »