THE LIFE OF EUSEBIUS BISHOP OF CAESAREA in PALAESTINE.
EUSEBIUS CAESARIENSIS. [portrait of Eusebius of Caesarea]
The time and place of his Birth. His Kindred unknown. His first Stu∣dies. His intimacy with Pamphilus and others. The Diocletian Per∣secution when begun. Its fierceness in Palaestine. Pamphilus cast into Prison. His and Eusebius's joynt Studies there. Their Apology Page 2 for Origen. Pamphilus his Trial and Martyrdome. His Learning and great Charity. Eusebius his journey into Aegypt. The great severity of the Persecution in those Parts. His imprisonment there. Vindicated from the Charge of offering Sacrifice. His writing against Hierocles. Hierocles who, and what his Books against the Christians. These Books answered by Eusebius; and this prov'd to be our Eusebius. His being made Bishop of Caesarea; and the eminency of that See. His oration at the Dedication of the Church at Tyre. The Licinian perse∣cution. The Arian controversie. His interceding with Alexander of Alexandria, in behalf of Arius, and his Letter to that purpose. The Synod of Nice. Eusebius his honourable place and imployment in that Council; his explication of that place, The Lord created me, &c. His Letter to the People of Caesarea, about the Affairs of the Nicene Synod, the Creed, the explication of the Articles, and his Subscription to them. Some brief remarques upon that Epistle. Constantine's Letter to him about the rebuilding of Churches, and his care for the destruction of Ido∣latry. Eusebius's Letter to the Empress Constantia, concerning the Image of our Saviour. His Chronicon, what, and when written. His Ecclesiastick History, and Books de locis Hebraicis. His Commentaries de Praeparatione & Demonstratione Evangelica. The time of their be∣ing written stated. The Synod at Antioch, and Deposition of Eustathius. Eusebius his refusal of that See, and commendation from the Emperor upon that account. The Dedication of Constantinople. The Emperor's Letter to Eusebius, to provide Bibles for the new erected Churches there. The Council at Tyre. Eusebius's rude treatment there by Potamo Bishop of Heraclea. The Dedication of the magnificent Church of the Sepulchre at Jerusalem. Eusebius his Orations upon that occasion. His Book of the Description of that Church. His Oration de laudibus Constantini, where, and upon what occasion. His writing against Marcellus, when, and why. Marcellus who. The death of Constantine, and his Character. Eusebius his Books de vita Constantini, and the design of them. Euse∣bius's death, and successor. His admirable learning, and excellent works. His collecting Church-antiquities, and how qualified for it. His Style, and Photius his censure of it. The charge of Arianism heavily laid upon him. An attempt towards his Vindication by a general Apology, and by many particular passages out of his writings. Who his Apologists among the Ancients. Condemn'd by the second Nicene Council, and why. The Characters given him, and Honours done him in the Western Churc•. The moderate censure of Pope Pelagius. Baronius his particular pique against him, whence. The story of Constantine's being baptized at Ni∣comedia considered. The truth of Eusebius his relation justified against Baronius. What allowance to be made for the harsh expressions in Euse∣bius his works. His writings enumerated.
I. DIONYSIƲS Bishop of Alexandria (that we may thence commence our design in this, where we concluded the foregoing saeculum) died Ann. Imp. Gallieni. XII. Chr. CCLXVI. immedi∣ately after the first Council held at Antioch, where∣in the irregular Doctrines and Practices of Pa•∣lus Samosatenus Bishop of that Church, were dis∣cuss'd and censur'd. About this time Eusebius was born, whence en∣tring upon the Affairs of that Council, he callsa it 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Page 3his own age, and elsewhere affirmsb that Dionysius liv'd in his time. That he was born in Pa aestine there can be no doubt, the Ancients ge∣nerally giving him that Title, and himself callingc it his o•n, or his native home. The particular place of his nativity, though it cannot certainly, may with greatest probability be assign'd to Caesarea, where we meet with the first notice of him, and to which he maintain'd a constant Relation to his dying day. Who, or what his Parents and Relations were, is unknown. Nicephorusd makes him Sisters Son to Pamphilus the Martyr, I believe upon no other warrant, than the great intimacy that was between them. Theye who conceive him to have been Brother to Eusebius Bishop of Nicomedia, do it upon the Autho∣rity of Arius; who so styles him in his Letterf to that Bishop. This conjecture (were the Evidence sufficient) I should be inclinable e∣nough to embrace, as what would give us a probable account, how he came to be so favourable to that party. But who ever impartially considers the matter, will see reason to think, that Arius intended no more than that he was his Brother in the Episcopal Order, or in some other collateral respect. Sure I am, the Nicomedian Eusebius in his Letterg to Paulinus of Tyre, written immediately upon the receit of that of Arius, gives him no other Title than that of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉my Lord, or Master: Besides that I believe it unpresidented in the Records of those times, for two own Brothers to have only one and the same name. His younger years were intirely consecrated to Arts and Learning, to Philosophy and severer Studies, wherein he became as great a Master, as any of the age he liv'd in. What Tutors he had in the rudiments of the Christian Faith we find not, more than that he was sometimes an Auditorh of Dorotheus Presbyter of Antioch (he flourished under Cyril, who entred upon that See Ann. Chr. CCLXXIX.) one whom for his excellent parts, profound learning, and exemplary vertues, Diocletian himself had in great reverence and estimation, and had made him his Commissioner for the Trade of Purple-dying at Tyre.
II. THEOTECNƲS Bishop of Caesarea dying, Agapiusi suc∣ceeded in that See, a man prudent and diligent in his Charge, and of a very kind and charitable temper. By him Pamphilus was ordained Presbyter of that Church, and it's like not long after Eusebius himself. Between which two commenc'd so great a Dearness and League of friendship, that as St. Hierom says,k they seem to have had but one Soul between them; and Eusebius to perpetuate the memory of so dear a friendship, assum'd the name of Pamphilus, a Title which he carries to this day. Besides him, two more he mentions* of his fa∣miliar acquaintance, Pierius Presbyter of Alexandria, and Regent of the Catechetic School there, who had sometimes been Pamphilus his Master, one whose strict life, and singular learning in all faculties gain'd him the Title of a second Origen; and Meletius Bishop of Sebastea in Pontus, a good man, and of incomparable Learning; and so extra∣ordinarily eloquent, that he was commonly styl'd 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Attic honey, whose excellent converse Eusebius enjoy'd, while for seven years together he sheltred himself in Palestine during the fol∣lowing persecution. Indeed as yet the state of the Church was se∣rene and calm and the Sun shone very favourably upon them; they liv'd undisturb'd,l and securely enjoy'd the liberty of their Religion; Page 4 many of them in favour at Court, and some admitted to great offices in the Empire, the Bishops and Ministers of Religion highly honoured by all, even by them that were strangers to the Faith, Christianity daily increas'd by numerous Converts, old Churches were repair'd, and new ones erected more large and stately in every place. Thus stood the case with them, till their sins awakned the divine Justice, and provok'd it to let loose the Storm upon them.
III. ABOUT the entrance of the following Century, Diocletian ha∣ving routed and killed Achilleus governour of Egypt (who had usurp'd the Empire, drawn those parts into Rebellion, and fortified himself in Alexandria) return'd for Syria, and pass'd through Palaestine with young Prince Constantin in his company, at what time Eusebius tellsm us, he saw that young Prince, when the eyes and admirations of men were fix'd upon him, his tall and comely personage, the strength and firmness of his body, but especially the vertues and endowments of his mind giving an early omen of the happiness of his future reign. Not long after Diocletian together with his Collegue Maximian, entred Rome in a solemn triumph for the several victories which had of late been gain'd over the Barbarous Countries; which done, he return'd to Nicomedia, where he usually kept his Court. And now he began to think it an affront and disparagement to his other triumphs, to see the ancient religion of the Empire baffled and born down by Christia∣nity, and therefore resolv'd to attempt the Suppression, if not Extir∣pation of it. To this purpose Imperial Edictsn are issued out; by the first commanding their Churches to be demolish'd, their Bibles to be burnt, persons of Honour to be disgracefully turn'd out of their offices, and meaner persons to lose their liberty; by a second, that the Go∣vernours of the Church should be Imprison'd, and by all methods of cruelty and torment, be compell'd to sacrifice; which were shortly after followed by fresh orders more fierce and bloody than the other. This persecution began a little before Easter, Ann. CCCIII. and with what fury it rag'd through all the Provinces of the Eastern Empire, Eusebiuso has declar'd at large. We shall only remarque a few of those that suffer'd in Palestin, and especially at Caesarea, where Eusebi∣us resided, and was a sad Spectator of their sufferings. The first that came to tryal was Procopius,p who obstinately refusing to doe sacri∣fice to the Gods, was immediately beheaded at Caesarea; followed herein not long after by Alphaeus and Zaccheus in the same way of Mar∣tyrdom, and at the same place; as on the same day with them, Ro∣manus Deacon and Exorcist of the Church of Caesarea, suffered at An∣tioch. The next year was memorable for the Martyrdom of Timo∣theusq at Gaza; of Timolaus, Dionysius, Romulus, Agapius, and seve∣ral others beheaded at Caesarea. And now it was that Diocletian, ei∣ther weary of the pompous Cares of Greatness, or vex'd to see him∣self baffled by the constancy of Christians, laid down his Purple, and betook himself to the retirements of a private life. But alas the Scene hereby did not lose, but only shift its Actor. For Maximinus, who succeeded in that part of the Empire, carried on the same design with a fresh but more violent rage and cruelty, issuing out orders the following year to quicken the Governours of Provinces, in putting the Laws in strict execution against those, that refus'd to comply with the publick Rites and Ceremonies of their Religion. To which pur∣pose Page 5 while the Officers were making Proclamation at Caesarea,r and summoning men by Name out of a publick roll, Apphianus a young Gen∣tleman of Lycia, and at that time Schollar to Eusebius, stole out of doors, (unknown to us, says Eusebius, who liv'd in the same house with him) and pressing through the crowds and guards, caught hold on the hand of Ʋrbanus the President, then ready to offer Sacrifice, which he grasp'd so hard as forc'd him to let it fall, gravely repro∣ving him for those Impieties. Whereupon (as we may imagine) the severest torments became his portion, after all which he was thrown half dead into the Sea, his Brother Aedesius for the same fact suffering the same kind of Martyrdom, and almost at the same time at Alex∣andria, not to mention what hapned in other places.
IV. IT was now the fourth year of the Persecution, when Maxi∣minuss the Emperor came in Person to Caesarea, there to solemnize his Birth-day, which was accordingly celebrated with infinite variety of Pomps and Shews. But all had been nothing, if some Christian had not born part in the Triumphs of that day. Accordingly Agapius, who had been sometime since sentenc'd to wild Beasts, was brought forth into the Amphitheater, and nothing prevail'd with by the Em∣peror's promises, was delivered over to the mercy of a She-Bear, who only left him so much life, as to be able survive till the next day, when great stones being tied to his feet, he was thrown into the Sea. Not long after Eusebius his dear friend Pamphilus was apprehendedt, and brought before Ʋrbanus the President, who endeavoured by all the arts both of insinuation and terror to bring him over. But all in vain, the Martyr remain'd immoveable, and generously despis'd his threat∣nings, which so enrag'd the Governour, that he commanded him to be rack'd with the acutest tortures; and when they had more than once rak'd his sides, and torn off his flesh with Iron-pincers, and yet that all this did not shake the firmness of his mind, he was sent to keep company with the other Confessors in Prison, the President him∣self being immediately after disgracefully turn'd out of his office, and with shame enough condemn'd by the Emperor to dye. But it was not at all the disgrace and torment Pamphilus endur'd, could fright Eusebius from his friend; he visited him in Prison, and diligently mi∣nistred to his occasions, and there they mutually imploy'd their time and pains to excellent and useful purposes. And as heretoforeu they had publish'd the Greek Translation of the Septuagint, taken out of Origen's Hexapla, for the use of the Palaestin Churches; so now they com∣pos'd an Elaborate Apology in defence of Origen, to vindicate him from those rude Censures and Reflexions, which the hasty and indiscreet zeal of some had made upon his memory. 'Tis true S. Jerom (for∣getting what he had elsewhere said* concerning this matter) more than once peremptorily deniesx that Pamphilus either wrote this or any other Book. But Eusebius himself, who knew best, expresly tellsy us, that it was the result of their joynt-endeavours; and Photiusz more particularly, that the whole Work consisted of six Books, the five first whereof were finish'd by Pamphilus in Prison with Eusebius his assistance, the sixth added by Eusebius after the other's Martyrdom, and that it was design'd for the consolation of the Martyrs who la∣boured in the Mines, the chief of whom was Patermuthius, who shortly after was burnt at the Stake.
Page 6V. TWO full years Pamphilus continued in Prison, when FirmilianaƲrbans Successor brought him to his fatal Trial. It hapned that five Christians of Egypt out of a great reverence to the Martyrs, had accompanied some Confessors that were condemn'd to the Mines in Cilicia; and being now upon their return, took Caesarea in their way, where they were apprehended by the Watch that stood Sentinel at the Gates, to whom freely confessing what they were, they were immediately carried before the Governor, and by his command laid in Irons. The next day they were again brought before him, and Pamphilus also with his companions commanded to attend the Tribunal. What be∣came of the Egyptian Martyrs, we are not now concerned to enquire: It came at last to Pamphilus his turn, whom the Judge knowing to be of an invincible Constancy and Resolution, only ask'd of him, whe∣ther he would yet comply. And having receiv'd both from him and his fellows nothing but a flat denial, the last doom was pass d upon them. But between Sentence and Execution in steps Porphyrius, Pamphilus his servant, a young man of good parts and learning, not above eigh∣teen years of age, and boldly requests that the bodies of the dead might receive decent Sepulture. But he paid dear for his forward zeal, the Tormentors being commanded to exercise all their faculties upon him, who rak'd off his flesh, till they had laid bare the most inward recesses of his body, all which he endur'd with a most imcomparable pati∣ence; after which being ordered to be burnt, he suck'd in the flames at a distance, entertaining his friends during the whole Scene of his Tragedy, with a most serene undisturb'd mind, till his Soul mounted up, leading his Master the way to Heaven, who shortly followed after him. But the rage of their enemies died not with them, the Presi∣dent commanding their dead bodies to be kept by a Military Guard four days and nights together, that none daring to fetch them off, they might remain a Prey to wild Beasts. But when beyond all ex∣pectation neither Bird nor Beast of Prey came near to touch them, (the providence of God defeating the malice of men) they were per∣mitted to be decently interr'd. Thus have we brought Pamphilus to his Grave, a man of great Learning, but far greater Piety. He was a Phaenicianb, of no inconsiderable birth and fortunes, born at Bery∣tus, a City famous for the study of the Roman Laws, where he bore some secular offices in his younger years, and where being educated under all the advantages of humane Arts, he next applied himself to the study of divine things, and was then made Presbyter of Caesarea. He was indefatigable in the pursuit of all parts of Learning, especially the knowledge of the Scriptures, for which end he erected a Libraryc at Caesarea, and replenish'd it with Books from all parts, yea, in a great measure of his own writing, transcribing the far greatest part of Origen's Works with his own hand, which he there laid up, and which were extant in S. Jerom's time, which he tells us he valued as a most inestimable treasure. His life was truly strict and Philosophical,d his Soul humble and mortified, eminent his contempt of the World, and his charity to the Poor, whom he reliev'd where ever he met, and by the truest sort of Charity provided for their Souls, that they might not be destitute of the bread of life. And for this purpose he caus'd great numbers of Bibles to be copied out, which he always kept by him, and freely bestow'd upon any, whose piety Page 7 made them as willing to read them, as their Purses made them un∣able to procure them.
VI. EƲSEBIƲS thus depriv'd of his dear Companion, either to mitigate the sense of so great a loss, or to withdraw from the pre∣sent heat of the Persecution, or it may be dispatch'd upon some affairs of the Church, left Caesarea, and about this time, (for I cannot well place it sooner) retir'd into Egypte, where he found the Persecution so far from abating, that it encreased together with the heats of the Climat, especially in the parts about Thebais, where he tells us he daily beheld the most sad and dismal spectacles; many were rak'd to death with sharp Shells instead of Pincers to tear off the flesh, wo∣men naked tied by one of their Legs and hoised up on high by En∣gines prepared for that purpose; others tied by the feet to great boughs of Trees, violently wrested and forc'd together, which being let go, in a moment rent the bodies of the Martyrs all in pieces. Nor were the numbers less considerable, than the cruelties of their execution, twenty, thirty, sixty, sometimes a hundred in a day, some behead∣ed, others burnt, till the very edges of their Swords were dull'd, and the Tormentors themselves, though relieving one another, tir'd out. All which time they discovered not only the highest constancy, but the most impatient desire of Martyrdom, Sentence being no sooner pass'd upon the first, but others immediately crowded up to the Tri∣bunal, confessing they were Christians. During his residence in these parts, Eusebius was seized and thrown into Prison: But how long he remained there, or by what means he was delivered thence, we no where find. Which has created a suspicion with many, improv'd by others into a confident assertion, that he offered Sacrifice, and basely complied with his Persecutors to procure his escape. This indeed was charg'df upon him by the Egyptian Confessors, and particularly by Potamo Bishop of Heraclea, his fellow-prisoner. But then it is to be considered, that they who suggested this were his avowed ene∣mies, who looking upon him as a Champion of the Arian party, were willing to improve all rumours and jealousies, though never so slight and groundless, to his disadvantage; and that there seems to have been no other foundation for this suspicion (as Potamo plainly con∣fesses) than meerly his being releas'd out of Prison without those badges of ignominy and cruelty upon his body, which some other of the Confessors underwent. Not to say, that had it been as they sug∣gested, it would have been an insuperable bar to his after-preferment in the Church, it being the severe discipline of those days not to ad∣mit any of the lapsed to places of dignity and authority in the Church, and where any such had done Sacrifice, they were immediately stripp'd of their Ecclesiastical capacities, and though penitent were receiv'd to no more than a meer Lay-communion; and Athanasius himself tellsg us of Asterius the Cappadocian Sophist, that having sa∣crific'd to Idols under this very Persecution, he could not for that rea∣son be admitted into the order of the Clergy. Whence I cannot but note the disingenuous and uncharitable censure of Baroniush, who as he falls upon Eusebius at every turn, so in this positively affirms not only that he did actually Sacrifice, and was interdicted the communion of the faithful, but that its highly probable that he procur'di the Presidency of so noble a Church as Caesarea, by sinister and evil arts, Page 8 as to which he could not be regularly admitted by the constitutions of the Church. In which malicious insinuation had there been any truth, we should not have fail'd to have heard of it in the Writers of those times, when the zealous contentions of the several Parties ripp'd up whatever might make to the disgrace of either.
7. The persecution in the mean time was carryed on in Aegypt, with all imaginable vigor and fierceness, by the care of two zealous Gover∣nors, Culcianus of Thebais, and Hierocles of Alexandria. This Hiero∣cles had been sometime since Judge at Nicomedia in Bithynia, where Diocletian kept his Court, and where Lactantius at that time taught Rhetoric, and for his activity, especially against the Christians was, it's like, prefer'd to be Governor of Alexandria, for so Epiphanius ex∣presly stiles him; where he carried it with so high a hand against the Christians, and prosecuted the Martyrs with such intollerable severi∣ties, that Aedesiusk in a fit of indiscreet and immoderate zeal not only reprov'd, but stroke him on the Face. A man he was of wit and parts above the ordinary standard, but poysoned with inveterate pre∣judices against the Christians, whom he persecuted both with his Sword and Pen. For he wrote two Booksl which in imitation of Celsus his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 he intitled 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as if not so much written against, as addrest to the Christians, that by a sly insinuation he might the easilier recommend himself to them; where∣in he attempted to prove the Scriptures to be guilty of falshood and contradiction, so particularly examining every minute punctilio, that Lactantius was ready to suspect him to have been an Apostate Christi∣an; the Apostles he endeavoured to shew to have been Cheats and Imposters, rude and illiterate Persons, and our Saviour himself a pub∣lick Robber, that his Miracles were the Effects of Magic, not com∣parable with those of Apollonius Tyaneus, whom he equall'd with, and preferr'd before him. This Book Eusebius took to task, and waving all other parts of it, as himself tellsm us, partly because being transcrib'd to a tittle of other mens writings (I suppose he means Celsus or Por∣phyry) they had been already answered by Origen, partly because he himself design'd to examine them elsewhere, as he did in his Books against Porphyry afterwards,) he now only attaqu'd that part of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 wherein Hierocles had compar'd Apollonius with our Savi∣our, which he refuted by no other method, than by making some strict reflections upon the Life of Apollonius, describ'd by Phylostratus in VIII Books, all which he runs through with short remarques, shew∣ing Apollonius to be so unfit to be compar'd with our blessed Saviour, that he scarce deserv'd the name of a true Philosopher, or an honest man. I confess I findn one (a man otherways Learned and Judici∣ous) standing alone in this matter, peremptorily denying, that it was our Eusebius that wrote this Confutation of Hierocles, but rather one of a later date, as seems evident from Hierocles his Books concerning Fate, which were not written till near a whole age after. But this objection would have easily vanish'd, had he considered, what to me is most plain and evident, that our Hierocles could not be the Author of those seven Books concerning Fate and Providence, as wherein men∣tion is made of Plutarcho the Athenian, who flourish'd about the be∣ginning of the fifth Century, and was contemporary with Olympiodo∣rus, to whose judgment and censurep he submitted those Books, and Page 9 who dedicatedq his Roman History (for that it was the same Olym∣piodorus I make no Question) to the younger Theodosius, who began not his Reign till the year CCCCVIII. Those Books therefore be∣long to a younger Hierocles mention'd by Suidasr and others, to whom he ascribes them, as also the most excellent Commen∣tary upon the golden Verses of Pythagoras. That which betray'd the man into the mistake, was plainly this: He suppos'dsEusebius his dissertation against Hierocles concerning Fate, to have been in an∣swer to those VII upon that Subject, mention'd by Photius. When as Eusebius in that discourse has not the least relation to those Books, but only makes some brief animadversions upon Apollonius his princi∣ples concerning Fate, which he annexes as a suitable Appendage to the preceding Confutation, as is evident at first sight beyond all ex∣ception to any one that casts his eye upon that Discourse. After all which it were easie to justifie our Eusebius his title to this Book from the express Testimony of Photius,t and the Faith of all ancient Copies, which bear his name in the Front of them. But of this enough.
VIII. IT'S now high time to return with Eusebius into Palaestin, where the persecution ceas'd, Anno Chr. CCX. eight years after it began, as within two years after the weather clear'du up in all the Provinces of the East, Constantine the Great, after his memorable Victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge, declaring himself in favour of the Christians, and writing in their behalf to Maximinus, who not daring to control the request of so potent a Colleague, Issued out his Let∣ters to the Governors of Provinces, forbidding all rigorous prosecuti∣on of them. About this time dyed Agapius Bishop of Caesarea, in whose room none was thought so fit to succeed as Eusebius, whose admirable learning, eminent services, and peculiar relation to that Church re∣commended him to the Government of so famous and renown'd a See. Caesarea, so called by Herod the Great, who beautified and enlarg'd it, in honour of Augustus Caesar, had ever since been one of the greatest Cities in those parts, and from the fall of Jerusalem, it had been the seat of the Proconsul, and the Metropolis of the Province; a place not more celebratedx for its abundance and plenty, than for the neatness and elegancy of its buildings. And as the fortunes of the Church in such Cases usually arise with the splendor and greatness of the civil state, it had been the Metropolitany See of Palaestin, to which even Jerusalem it self was subject. And though the Fathers of the Nicene Synod thought fit to decree,z that according to ancient Custom and Tradition, honour shauld be paid to the Bishop of Jerusalem, yet still it was with a reservation, saving the Rights, the Power and Jurisdi∣ction of its own Metropolis; by which they undoubtedly mean Cae∣sarea, as the Scholiasts upon that Canon universally acknowledge, and is, I think, granted by all. And thus stood the Case for some ages, till the Ambition of some Bishops, and the great reverence which af∣ter-times bore to the place of our Saviour's sufferings and burial, turn'd the Tables, and Caesarea became subject to the Patriarchate of Jeru∣salem.
IX. EƲSEBIƲS plac'd in so conspicuous a Throne, quickly be∣came considerable among the Bishops of the East, but with none more intimate than Paulinus Bishop of Tyre, formerly Presbyter of Antioch, at whose invitation he perform'd a very solemn Service upon this oc∣casion. Page 10 Among the happy influences of Constantin•'s favour and kind∣ness to the Christians, it was not the least, that the Houses of God, which the impiety of the late times had demolish'd, began to rise up out of their dust and ruins, and to grow up into fairer and more magnificent Fabricks than before; and this not only by the Emperors lieve, but by their particular encouragement and assistance. Nor were Churches more cheerfully built by the bounty of Christians, then with an equal piety they were solemnly dedicated to God's honour and service, the Consecrations being usually celebrated with Prayers and Sermons, Hymns and Sacraments, and all possible expression of mutual Love and Charity, the presence of the Governors of the Church, and resort of strangers from all parts. In which number P•ulinus of Tyre, partly by his own, partly by the contribution of his Friends, had erected a beautiful and stately Church, the fairest in all those parts, at the dedication whereof, there being a general conflu∣ence of the neighbour Bishops, Eusebius had the honour to make that large and elegant Oration, yet extanta in the body of his History; wherein after a grateful commemoration of the care and goodness of the divine Providence, that had so strangely turn'd their Tears and Sorrows, into Musick and Triumphs, and especially that the solemni∣ties of their Religion, and the places of divine Worship had been with advantage restored to them; and had therein recommended the piety and diligence of the Bishop of that place; he particularly describes the several parts and ornaments of that magnificent structure, toge∣ther with their mystical aspects and significations, concluding, as he began, with a passionate address to all, to joyn unanimously in a hear∣ty love and admiration of the divine Goodness; an Honour and Vene∣ration suitable to those mighty blessings that had been heap'd upon them. This was done Ann. CCCXIV. Or at most the following year. But alas, this pleasant serenity of affairs lasted not long. Licinius the Eastern Emperor laying asideb the Mask of his dissembl'd kindness to the Christians, by which he had hitherto impos'd upon Constantine, sell now with great severity upon them, not only banishing them from Court, and all Offices of Trust and Power, but pursuing them with cruel Edicts, proceeding against their Estates and Persons, by Oppression and Violence, by Rapine and Confiscation, by Exile and Imprisonment, and by the most bloody and barbarous kinds of Death and Torment. The Gentile-religion he industriously reviv'd, and en∣deavoured to restore it not only to Life, but to its ancient Power and Splendor. This opportunity Valesius supposescEusebius took to write his Books, de Praeparatione & Demonstratione Evangelica; as indeed the Occasion was very fit and proper. But that they could not be written till several years after this, we shall shew afterwards.
X. BUT though the Licinian Tempest was fierce and boistrous, yet arose there at this time a storm of another nature, that in some respects was more troublesome to the Church, than all the Pagan persecutions. I mean the Arian controversie, whereof we shall speak more particularly in the Life of Athanasius, the proper seat of that sto∣ry, considering it here no farther, than as Eusebius was concern'd in it. Arius like a subtle and designing man, had by couching his mind in ambiguous terms, and denying at one time, what he affirm'd at another, so conceal'd the venom of his Propositions, that he so far im∣pos'd Page 11 upon several Bishops of the East, and particularly upon our Eusebius, as to write to Alexander Bishop of Alexandria, Arius his Di∣ocesan, by whom he had been excommunicated, to readmit him to Communion. What use the crafty Heretick made of these Letters is easie to imagine, insomuch that Alexander look't upon himself, as un∣der a necessity by publick Letters to represent the true state of the Case, and in one to Alexanderd of Byzantium, he charges the three Syrian Bishops (meaning, no question, Eusebius of Caesarea, Theodotus of Laodicea, and Paulinus of Tyre) as giving too much countenance and encouragement to the Arian party, declaring that Arius and all his followers were expell'd the Church, and that no man ought to re∣ceive or entertain them. This, Arius in his Epistlee to the Nicome∣dian Eusebius interprets, as particularly putting our Eusebius and seve∣ral others under an Anathema, as whom he suppos'd of the same Opi∣nion with himself. Eusebius netled hereat, writesf to Alexander, telling him,
XI. THE Controversie being grown beyond all private Methods of composure, Constantine, Ann. Chr. CCCXXV. summon'd a General Council of Bishops from most parts of the Christian World for the de∣cision of it, which accordingly met at Nice, where our Eusebius had the first seath on the right Wing of the Benches near the Emperor, Page 12 and the honour to entertain him with an Oration in the name of the Synod at his coming thither. This was that Oration that he made at Constantine's Vicennalia, when, as he tellsi us, he beheld that great Conqueror compass'd round with the servants of God, and display'd the goodness of Heaven, and the greatness of the Emperor, with just Praises and Commendations. A piece of service not more acceptable to that Prince, than honourable to himself. Indeed how considera∣ble a part he bore in that great Assembly, may appear by what the Historiank of that Council reports (though I confess not mention'd by any other) that when one of the Philosophers whom Arius had brought along with him to dispute on his side, press'd that place, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉The Lord created me the beginning of his ways, as plain∣ly destructive of our Lord's Divinity, Eusebius was commanded by the Synod to undertake him upon that argument, who waving the usual explications of that place, he insists upon this, that this is not spoken in the person of the Son of God, but of that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that humane and rational wisdom, which God at first planted in man, when he cre∣ated him after his own Image. And because he foresaw it would be objected, that the wisdom here spoken of was before the rest of the Creation, he affirms, that the material World was indeed actually made before it, but that this wisdom and man as the Subject of it were first in the purpose and design of God. The particulars of the dispute are too tedious to be here inserted, he concludes with an ad∣dress to the Philosopher, not to suffer himself to be led aside out of the common road of the Apostolick Faith, to apply his mind to truth, without respect to hatred or parties, by which means he would quick∣ly understand that the Son of God was not a Creature, but the very maker and founder of the whole Creation. Among many things that induce me to disbelieve the account of these disputations, and particu∣larly of this passage of Eusebius, this is not the least, the odd inter∣pretation which Eusebius here gives of this so much controverted place. For though the Greek Fathers, who generally understood no Hebrew, were frequently at a loss about it, as it lies in the Version of the Septuagint, the only Translation they made use of, yet Eusebius, who was somewhat skill'd in the original Text, was capable of giving a more easie and natural solution of it. And accordingly elsewherel we find him expounding it of the Son of God, and expresly assert∣ing, that if it were meant of creating, it could not be understood, as if he had proceeded from not being into being, seeing he did subsist and live, was preexistent and presubsistent to the whole Creation, but ra∣ther that it might denote, that God had appointed and constituted him to be Prince and Head of all things; that the Hebrew Text had nothing concerning God's creating him, the Word Cana signifying to possess, and so he observes both Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion ren∣der it, the Lord possessed me the beginning of his ways, that is, he whom the Father begot as his only begotten Son, was the Head of all things that were made, both visible and invisible, both as to their Creation and Salvation; that there was a wide difference between 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Created, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Possessed, the one noting after the ordi∣nary manner of creation, a proceeding from non-existence into a state of being, the other a possessing something preexistent, and a most pecu∣liarly distinguishing propriety towards him that possesses it: So that the Page 13 Son of God in that place at once represents both his own preexistence and peculiar propriety to his Father, and also that benefit and advan∣tage, which his Fathers Works would receive by his Providence and Administration. Which is the Sum, and as neer as may be the very words, of what he more largely discourses upon this Subject.
XII. GREAT were the pains which the Fathers of the Council took to convince Arius and his Party, and to satisfie the doubtful and the scrupulous, the moderate endeavouring to find out some expedi∣ent to heal the breach. To which end Eusebius brought in a Confes∣sion of Faith, wherein he hop'd both parties might agree, which though well approv'd of, yet not being thought explicite enough in the main Article, was with some little alteration and addition, especi∣ally of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or word Consubstantial, drawn up into a standing Creed. This form Eusebius at first dislik'd, and very minutely can∣vass'd and debated the matter, but considering how much the Peace of the Church ought to over-rule all private sentiments, and niceties about words, he the next day subscrib'dm the common Creed. Of all which he gave an account in a Letter to the People of his Charge, (though, as Theodoret thinks, it was more particularly design'd, to give satisfaction to some Persons in that City, deeply leaven'd with Arian principles, and who seem'd to challenge him as having betray'd and given up their cause. The Letter is somewhat larger than ordi∣nary, and consists of expressions not very capable of being properly rendred into our Language; yet because it contains the Transactions of that Synod, so far as they relate to him, we shall here insert it.n
Eusebius his Letter to the People of Caesarea.
THOƲGH I doubt not, dear Brethren, but that before this you have heard by some other hand, what things have been debated con∣cerning the Faith of the Church in the great Council of Nice, since report is wont to out-run the true account of things; yet to the end that such reports may not represent things otherwise to you than indeed they are, we have thought it necessary to send you, first, the Confession of Faith, which we pro∣pounded, and next the other, which with some addition to ours the Synod establish'd. The form propos'd by us, and which was read in the presence of the most sacred Emperor, and seem'd to be lik'd and approv'd by all, was in this manner. The exposition of our Faith. As we have receiv'd it from the Bishops, who were our predecessors, both when we were first instructed in the rudiments of the Faith, and when afterwards baptized into it; as we have learn't from the holy Scriptures, and both believed and taught, not only when we sustain'd the Office of Presbyter, but since we came to the Epis∣copal Station, so do we still believe, and produce this as the account of our Faith.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God of God, Light of Light, Life of Life, the only begotten Son, the first born of every Creature, begotten of God the Father before all Worlds; by whom all things were made, who for our Salvation was incarnate, and dwelt amongst men, he suffered, and rose again the third Page 14 day, and ascended to the Father, and shall come again with Glory to judge both the quick and the dead. We believe also in one holy Ghost. Each of these [Persons] We believe to be and to subsist, the Father tru∣ly the Father, the Son truly the Son, and the holy Ghost truly the ho∣ly Ghost: As our Lord himself when he sent forth his Disciples to Preach, said to them, Go teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost. Concerning which we also declare the same to be our sence, that we hold this now, that we have ever hitherto held the same, and that we shall hold it to the death, firm∣ly persevering in this Faith, and Anathematizing every impious Here∣sie. All which we profess before Almighty God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we have sincerely, and from our very hearts maintain'd ever since we were capable to understand our selves, that we still do re∣ally think and speak the same things, being ready to give you all assu∣rance and demonstration, that heretofore we have constantly so believ'd and preach'd.
Having thus declared our Faith, it met with no contradiction, yea the most holy Emperor himself first pronounc'd it to be sound and right, affirm∣ing that himself was of the same mind, and exhorting all others unanimously to assent and subscribe to this Doctrine, adding only the word Consubstan∣tial to it, which also he expounded, affirming, that the Son was not said to be Consubstantial according to corporeal affections, or that he did subsist of his Father by any kind of Section or Division; it being impossible that an immaterial, intellectual and incorporeal Nature should admit any corporeal passion; but that these things were to be understood in a divine and secret way. And so did the most wise and religious Emperor discourse about these matters. The Bishops taking advantage of the Emperor's proposal concern∣ing the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 drew up the following Creed.
The Faith agreed on in the Synod.
WE believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible invisible: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Fa∣ther; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, of the same substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, which are in Heaven and in Earth: Who for us men and for our Salvation came down, and was incarnate, and was made man, and suffer∣ed; the third day he rose again, ascended into Heaven, and shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the holy Ghost. But for those that say, there was a time when he was not, or that he was not before he was, or that he was made of things that had no existence; or that affirm the Son of God to be of any other substance or essence, or that he was created, or is obnoxious to change or alteration; all such the Catho∣lick and Apostolick Church of God doe anathematize and reject.
No sooner was the matter digested into this form, but we were especially careful to examine those Phrases, of the substance of the Father, and consubstantial with the Father. This begat various Questions and An∣swers, and an accurate weighing the true importance of them. They ac∣knowledg'd Page 15 that these words (of the Substance) did imply, that the Son was of the Father, but not as a part of him. Which notion it seemed very rea∣sonable to us to embrace, seeing the true Doctrine teaches, that the Son is of the Father, but yet no part of his Substance. Wherefore we also gave our assent to it, not rejecting the very word Consubstantial for peace sake; and that we might not decline from the right sence of things. Ʋpon the same account we approv'd those terms, begotten, not made; where they told us that (made) was a word common to all other Creatures that were made by the Son, with which the Son himself had no resemblance; that therefore he was no Creature, like to any thing made by him, but of a Sub∣stance far more excellent than any created Being; which the divine Oracles teach to be of the Father, by an ineffable manner of Generation, which can neither be express'd, no nor comprehended by any created Ʋnderstanding. So likewise for this, that the Son is Consubstantial, or of the same essence with the Father, upon debate it was agreed, that this was not to be under∣stood after any corporeal Mode, or the manner of mortal Creatures, it not being capable of so being either by division of the Substance, or by abscision, or by change of the essence and power of the Father, his unbegotten nature being utterly inconsistent with any one of these: But that this, that he is Consubstantial with the Father, signified no more, than that the Son of God had no kind of similitude with any Creatures, but was only, and in all things like unto this Father that begat him, not of any other subsistence or essence, but of the Father. Which being so explain'd, it seem'd very just and reasonable we should assent to it. Forasmuch as we know that some of the learned and famous Bishops and Writers of ancient times, in explaining the divinity of the Father and the Son, have us'd this word, Consubstantial. And so much for the Faith here established, to which we all consented, not rashly and inconsiderately, but in the sences alledged, discus'd before the most religious Emperor, and for the reasons above men∣tion'd approv'd by all. And for the Anathema affix'd by them at the end of the Creed, we readily own it, as what prohibits men to use unscriptural terms, from whence has arisen all the confusion and disturbance in the Church. For seeing the Divinely inspired Scripture no where makes use of these expressions, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉of things not existent, and, there was a time, when he was not, and the rest there mention'd, it seems irratio∣nal and absurd, that they should be us'd or taught. To which wisely con∣triv'd sentence we readily gave our suffrage, having never heretofore ac∣custom'd our selves to such expressions. [Nor do we think it unfit to reject this, that, he was not before he was begotten, it being confess'd by all, that the Son of God was preexistent to his Incarnation: Yea, our most Religious Emperor has shewn, that as to his divine Generation, he was before all Worlds. For before he was in Act, he was potentially in the Father by a certain unbegotten way, the Father being always a Father, as always a King and a Saviour, being all things in respect of Power, always and as to all things the same.] These things, beloved, we thought necessary to acquaint you with, that you might know with how much caution we first stood off, and then yielded our assent, and how not without reason, we resisted till the last minute, so long as there was any thing otherwise written that might give offence; but afterwards quietly embrac'd what was inoffensive, after that, having candidly examin'd the meaning of what was said, it appear'd that they were consonant to that confession of Faith which we had first propos'd. We salute you, with the Brother-hood together with you, wishing you, honour'd Brethren, to farewell in the Lord.
Such was the Letter which Eusebius sent to his Caesareans, to let them know how affairs went in the Council, to prevent mis-reports concerning himself, and to assure them he had subscrib'd no other Doctrine, than what he had always delivered to them. I shall make no other reflections upon the Epistle it self, than that hence 'tis evi∣dent, that whatever the Arians pretended concerning the novelty of the terms in the Nicene Creed, the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 whereat they most boggled was of a more ancient date, us'd by the Fathers in the prece∣dent ages of the Church: And that when ever Eusebius speaks of Christ as in any sence created, he always means it of a divine pro∣duction, to wit, his eternal Generation; that he never denies him to be of the same substance with the Father in any other sence, than as the divine nature is incapable of division or separation after the manner of corporeal Beings. The Reader may farther remark, that that passage in the close of the Epistle concerning Christ's being actu∣ally and potentially in the Father, is confus'd and obscure, and indeed the whole Period, which we have included within Breaks, is not ex∣tant in this Epistle as 'tis in Socrates, nor in that translated by the an∣cient compiler of the Tripartite History. Whence one of these two things plainly follows, either that they left it out as a dangerous, and unaccountable passage, or (which to me seems more probable) that not being in the Original Copy of this Epistle, it was shuffled in by some other hand. For I cannot think Socrates would have been guil∣ty of so much both imprudence and unfaithfulness, as when he pre∣tends to give the whole, to cut off, and conceal part of so conside∣rable a Letter, and which being almost in every hand, must needs soon discover the Fraud.
XIII. This great Assembly being ended, Constantine went on in his de∣signs for the Establishment and Propagation of the Christian Religi∣on. He had not long before the Synod upon his Victory over Lici∣nius, writteno to the Bishops in every Province to take care for the re∣pairing and re-edifying of Churches, and the erecting others more large and beautiful, commanding Charges to that end to be allowed out of his own Exchequer. His Letter to Eusebius is still extant;p wherein he tells him, he could not but suppose that the Impiety and Tyranny of the late times had made strange havock and devastation of Churches, and that the divine Providence by his Ministry having overcome the Dra∣gon, and restor'd liberty and safety, it could not but have a mighty force upon the most prejudic'd and incredulous, to bring them into the way of truth: That therefore he should take care of what Churches were within his jurisdiction, and give the same notice to all Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons of his acquaintance, to use peculiar diligence in this matter, that what Churches were yet standing might be re∣paired, or enlarged, and where need was, new ones erected; and that what was necessary to this purpose, he, and others by his means, should require of the Governors of Provinces, and the Praetorian Prae∣fect, to whom he had given Orders to be assistant to him in any thing he should demand of them. Nor was he more careful to advance the true Religion, than to depress the false, especially to destroy the Monuments of Pagan Idolatry and Superstition. There stoodq in Pa∣laestine an aged Oak call'd Mamre, which constant Tradition avow'd to have remain'd since the time of Abraham, who dwelt there, and Page 17 under it entertain'd the Angels that appear'd to him. Here was annually holden a famous Mart, frequented by a numerous concourse of Christians, Jews and Gentiles from all the neighbouring Nations, partly to vend their several Commodities, partly to exercise the seve∣ral Rites of their Religions. For which purpose there were Statues and Altars, and Sacrifices continually made upon them. Notice whereof being given to Constantine, by the pious Princess his Mother Helen, he immediately sent dispatches to Acacius the Governour about it, and wroter to Eusebius, Macarius, and the rest of the Palaestine Bishops, letting them know how much he resented the Profanation of so venerable a Place; that a Place that had been honoured with so many divine Apparitions and Testimonies from Heaven, should be prostituted to such lewd Idolatry; a thing unfit in it self, and unbe∣coming the Piety of his Reign: That therefore he had ordered the Images to be burnt, the Altar to be demolished, the Sacrifices to be abolished, and a Church to be built in the Place; where nothing but the pure Worship of God might be performed. Which if any should dare to oppose, upon their Intimation to him, he should be punished according to the just Demerit of his Impiety and Folly. About this time I suppose it was (though I cannot certainly adjust the particular year) that Constantia, Constantine's Sister, and relict of the late Em∣perour Licinius, wrote to Eusebius as Metropolitan of Palaestine, de∣siring him to send her the Image or Picture of our Saviour. To which, checking her vicious Curiosity, he returns this smart Answer.s
XIV. THE Church at this time was in a very calm and quiet State, freed from forreign Persecutions by the late Victory over Li∣cinius, and rendred more peaceable within it self by the Synodical Determination lately made of the Arian Controversie. And about this time Eusebius, probably, set himself to compose his Ecclesiastical Hi∣story, as some few years since he had drawn up his Chronicon, a Work of infinite and incredible Labour and Industry, and which he took as much care to transmit intire to Posterity, as he had taken pains to compose it, obliging all Transcribers by this solemn Obtestation,t the Form whereof he borrowedu from Iren•eus: Whoever thou art that shall transcribe this Book, I adjure thee by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by his glorious Coming, wherein he shall judge the quick and the dead, that thou compare what thou transcribest, and diligently correct it by the Copy from whence thou transcribest it, and that thou likewise transcribe this Adjuration, and annex it to thy Copy. A most prudent and Religious care, and no where more necessary than in Matters of Chronology, where the Mistake is as easie, as the Error is dangerous. And had but Posterity been as careful to observe this Charge, as he was to give it, we had not had such lame and broken accounts of those early Ages, as we are now forc'd to take up with, not much of the work it self, and less of the Original Greek arriving to us, and most of what remains so alter∣ed and interpolated by St. Jerom, that 'tis hard to say which is his, and which Eusebius's. The whole Work consisted of two Parts. The first called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, contain'd a kind of universal History, representing the Originals and Antiquities of all Nations, the Founda∣tions of Cities, Transmigrations of People, Rise of Dynasties, Dura∣tion of Empires, Successions of Kings, and such like, from the Crea∣tion of the World, to the Vicennalia, or Twentieth year of the Reign of Constantine; traversing to this end all the Records and Monuments both of the Greeks and Romans, both of the Eastern and Western World, being especially beholden to Africanus his Chronography, which he almost intirely transcribed into this Work. But of this Part, only some Fragments are extant at this day. The other part is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, wherein he drew what was in the former into a Compendium, reducing things to particular years, beginning from the year of Abraham's Birth, which he makes the standing Epoch, deriving it by Decads throughout all Ages, comparing with, and ad∣justing to it, the Affairs of all Nations and Countries, with such memorable Passages as hapned in all Ages of the World. After the Birth of our Lord, he regulates things by a treble Aera, the year of our Lord, the Reigns of the Roman Emperours, and the Series of the Consuls, and herein he represents the State of the Church, the Names and Successions of eminent Bishops and famous Writers, the several Heresies and Persecutions, and the like Affairs, all referr'd to their proper Periods; thereby laying the Scheme of a future Design, which in his Ecclesiastical History he enlarged afterwards, as himself tells Page 19w us. This History he divided into ten Books, wherein he accurate∣ly and orderly digested the Affairs of the whole Christian World for somewhat above CCC. years. A work noble and useful, and high∣ly meriting of Posterity, upon the account whereof he is styledx〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the most excellent Cultivator of Ecclesiastick History, as first breaking up the Ground, being as himself tellsy us, the first that beat out the Path, where he had no tract be∣fore him. He dedicated it to his old Friend Paulinus Bishop of Tyre, by whose Instigation and Encouragement he first set upon it, and who liv'd not long after the Council of Nice. To the same Paulinus he dedicatedz also two Books, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the first containing a Chorography of Judea, the Division of the Twelve Tribes, the Description of Jerusalem and the Temple, and this is lost: The Se∣cond, an Alphabetical account of the Cities, Towns, Villages, Mountains and Rivers mentioned in Scripture, either under their anci∣ent, or more modern Names, and this has escap'd the Ruins of Time. In the interval between his Chronicon, and his Ecclesiastick History, he seems to have penn'd his Books, de Praeparatione, & Demonstratione Evangelica, wherein with incomparable Learning and Industry, he has, out of their own Writings, so baffled the main Principles of the Pagan Cause; and so strongly asserted the Truth of Christianity against the pretences both of Jews and Gentiles, that the Christian World can never think it self sufficiently indebted to his Memory. The former Work consists of fifteen Books, which he dedicated to Theodotus Bi∣shop of Laodicea, the latter of Twenty, extant intire in Photiusa his Time, now reduc'd to half the number. In both which he has shew∣ed himself a man of diffuse and infinite Reading, and though there were nothing else in them, the World is greatly obliged to him for many Fragments of ancient Learning, which had otherwise never arrived to us. That they could not be written before this time (notwith∣standing what Valesius supposes, that they were written about ten years sooner) is plain, because in them he cites,b and appeals to his Canones Chronici, as a Work already extant: Now these being brought down to the Twentieth year of Constantine, Anno CCCXXV. the other must be written at least some time after. Though I no way doubt, but the Licinian Persecution wherein the Gentiles carried them∣selves high, which ended not wholly, but with the death of that Prince (which hapned towards the latter end of the foregoing year) gave birth and occasion to his undertaking of that Subject. And that they w re written before his Church-History is evident, because in itc he cites his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, his pecular Commentaries, where∣in he had collected all the Prophetical Passages and Predictions that concerned our blessed Saviour, and had thence demonstratively en∣forced the truth of all those things that related to him. Which can properly be applied to nothing but his Books of Evangelical D•∣monstration, which are little else but a Collection of the Passages of the ancient Prophets, and an Application of them to our Sa∣viour.
XV. THE Nicene Decrees, though they had a little allay'd the present heats, yet the Spirit of the Arian Faction did still ferment, and broke out more openly in the Contentions between Eus•bius Bishop of Nicomedia, and Eustathius Bishop of Antioch, who mutually Page 20 recriminated each other; though Sozomend sayes, that instead of him of Nicomedia, it was our Eusebius; but withall adds, that the Dispute between them lay only in words, they both agreeing that the Son had his Personal Hypostasis or Subsistence but that mi∣staking each others sence, they scuffled in the dark. But with the other Eusebius, Eustathius had a feircer Contest. For Eusebius of Ni∣comedia being lately return'd from Banishment,e and having regain'd some Interest at Court, under a pretence of visiting the holy Places at Jerusalem, and especially the magnificent Structures which the Emperour was building there, was furnished by him with all Ac∣commodations for his Journey; where taking Antioch in his way, he laid the Foundation of that Design which he carried on at his return thither. For having procur'd a Synod to be holden there, Eu∣stathius was accus'df by Cyrus Bishop of Beraea of Sabellianism, and to make the Indictment more heavy, some Immoralities were laid to his charge, a Woman of lewd fame being brought into the Synod with an Infant sucking in her Arms, which she impudently affirm'd to be his, and when put to it, ratified it with her Oath. Where∣upon the good man was depos'd by the Council, and an account of it being transmitted to the Emperor, he was by his Order immedi∣ately banished into Illyricum. This kindledg a mighty flame at An∣tioch, the City hereupon running into great Faction and Disorder, both Magistrates and People, Souldiers and Tradesmen, betaking them∣selves to Arms, and things had come to downright Blows and Blood, had not great care been used to prevent it. For besides the Empe∣rours frequent dispatches from Court, by Persons of Honour and Authority to compose the Tumults, moderate men thought no ex∣pedient better to allay the Disorders, than to choose some Person of Learning and Eminency to succeed in that Chair, in whom both Parties might meet and Center. Hereupon the Synod pitcht upon our Eusebius, then present in the Council, a man of unquestionable Learning, and one whom they knew to be highly in favour with the Emperor, to whom they sent an account of their Election. But the fierce Animosities and Divisions still continued in the City, a great part both of the Clergy and People passionately contending for Eu∣sebius his Translation thither, as others were importunate for Eu∣sebius his Restitution to that Place. But Eusebius not caring to fish in troubled Waters, nor liking the See ever the better, out of which a Famous man had been so indirectly thrown, but especially behold∣ing it as against the Rules and Constitutions of the Church, which ordinarily allow'd not a Bishop to be translated from one See to ano∣ther, and this ratified by a Canonh of the late Nicene Synod, obsti∣nately declin'd the Election, whereof by Letter he certified the Em∣peror, who was infinitely pleas'd with his Prudence and Piety in that Affair. Upon his refusal, his dear Friend Paulinus of Tyre was tran∣slated thither. But he had not held it above six Months, when the See became again vacant by his Death. The Emperor upon the receit of Eusebius his Letter, wrotei back to the People of Antioch to this effect, That he very well knew the Person whom they had chosen, and recommended to him with such honourable Characters, and that he was one whom he had a long time had in great Veneration for his Learning and Modesty, and that in this Competition not many Page 21 might be found equal to him: But yet that it was not fit that one Church should be provided for to the prejudice of another, that every one should be content with his own Bounds, and rest satisfied with their peculiar Allotments, that the Souls of men in a smaller as well as in a greater Church were equally dear to Heaven, and therefore should not have their Guide and Pastor ravish'd from them, an Act of greater Violence than Justice: That they should do well to unite in Love and Concord, and laying aside all seditious and immo∣dest Clamours, prudently make choice of such a Person as might be most proper and convenient for them. To the same purpose he wrotek to the Bishops in the Synod, letting them know how much he ap∣prov'd Eusebius his prudent Resolution to wave the Election, as a thing highly consonant to the Laws of the Church; that he understood that Euphronius Presbyter of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and George the Arethusian Presbyter of Alexandria were men of ap∣prov'd Integrity in the Faith, whom together with such others as they should think fit for that Episcopal Station, they should set be∣fore them, and proceed in the Election as the rules of the Church, and Apostolical Tradition did require. Together with these, he wrote particularly to Eusebius himself, this following Letter.l
CONSTANTINE the Great, the August, the Con∣querour to EUSEBIUS.
I Have often read your Letter, and perceive how exactly you observe the Rule of Ecclesiastick Discipline. For to persevere in those things that are both acceptable to God, and agreeable to Apostolical Tradition, is highly Pious; herein may you account your self happy, that by the Te∣stimony almost of all the World, you have been thought worthy to be Bishop of the whole Church. For since all have been ambitious to injoy you, it unquestionably makes a great Addition to your Happiness. But your wis∣dom, whereby you have been taught to keep the Commands of God, and the Apostolical Canon of the Church, has done very well in refusing the charge of the Church of Antioch, and in desiring to continue in that Episcopal Station, wherein, by the Will of God, you were plac'd from the very first. But concerning this Affair I have written to the People, as also to your Collegues, who had written to me about this Matter. Which Letters, when your Holiness shall peruse, you will easily understand, that it being but just that I should deny their request, what I wrote to them about it, was by immediate guidance and direction from God. It will become your Wisdom to joyn in Consultation with them, that so this Affair of the Church of Antioch may be setled. God have you in his keeping, dear Brother.
The Issue of the business was, that Eusebius remain'd where he was, and Euphronius was chosen to the See of Antioch, being one of the two whom the Emperor had nominated in his Letter to them.
Page 22XVI. THUS ended the Troubles of Antioch, and the Synod there held Anno CCCXXX. A year memorable for the Dedication of Constantinople,* whither Constantine having translated the Seat of the Empire, and enriched it with all the Ornaments of State and Grandeur, which the Power of so great a Prince was capable to confer upon it, solemnly dedicated it May the XIth. impressing his own name upon it, an Honour which of all the Fortunes of that mighty Empire, is the only surviving Monument of his Greatness at this day. Nor was he unmindful of Acts of Piety, Erecting several fair Churches and Oratories for the Assemblies of Divine Worship, and that they might not be unfurnish'd of Bibles for their holy Offices, he wrote to Eusebius (whom he knew most capable of this Affair, both for his Learning, and the incomparable Library at Caesarea) to provide him fifty Copies transcrib'd for that use. The Copy of the Letterm we here insert.
CONSTANTINE the Great, the August, the Con∣queror to EUSEBIUS Bishop of Caesarea.
IN the City that bears our name, by the Blessing and Providence of God our Saviour, there are great numbers of men gathered to the holy Church. Since then all things there are mightily improv'd, it seems above all things convenient, that several Churches should be erected there. Ʋnderstand therefore what I am most readily resolv'd to do. It seem'd good to me to intimate to your Wisdom, that you cause fifty Copies of the holy Scriptures, the use whereof you know to be absolutely necessary to the Church, to be fairly transcribed in Parchment by Antiquaries accurately dext•rous in that Art, such as may be easily read, and carried up and down upon any occasion. To this end we have graciously written to the Treasurer of the Diocess, to take care that all necessary charges be allowed for the pro∣viding those Books. Your part it is, diligently to see that they be pre∣par'd with all speed that may be; for the transmitting whereof, you shall by vertue of these Letters, receive the command of two publick Carriages, that so the Copies fairly transcribed, may be the more conveniently brought to our presence, attended by one of the Deacons of your Church, who at his arrival, shall not fail to taste of our Grace and Kindness. God preserve you, dear Brother.
No sooner had Eusebius receiv'd the Commands, but he immedi∣ately caus'dn the Books to be copied out, which in Parcels richly and elegantly Bound, he transmitted to the Emperor; who in his an∣swer signified his Approbation of them; as also, how well he was pleas'd with what he had been told, that Gaza a Town in Palestine had renounc'd Idolatry, and embrac'd the true Religion: For which he endow'd it with great Priviledges, advancing it to the Honour of a City, and gracing it with the Title of Constantia, the name of his own Sister. Together with this Letter concerning the Bibles, he sent also an answer to Eusebius, about his Book concerning the Paschal Solemnity, which he had lately dedicated to him, wherein he had Page 23 explain'd the Original, and all the Mysteries of the Festival: In which answero he tells him, how diligently he read his Book, how great∣ly he admir'd his excellent Learning, and indefatigable Studies, and how desirous he was, frequently to receive such Discourses from him, that he was resolv'd by publishing his Book, to make it uni∣versally useful, and that in order thereunto, he had caus'd it to be ele∣gantly translated into the Latin Tongue.
XVII. THE Arian Party by subtle Artifices and Insinuations at Court, dayly gain ground of the Orthodox, whom they laboured by all wayes possible to suppress. The main Stickler in defence of the Nicene Creed was Athanasius, whom not being able to rout by force of Argument, they loaded with all the black and infamous Calumnies, which Wit or Malice could invent, and these represented with all Advantages to the Emperor. Who incens'd hereat, commandedp a Synod to be conven'd at Caesarea in Palaestine, Eusebius his Episcopal See, where after a tedious Expectation nothing was done, the party accused refusing to appear. Which the Emperor so far resented, that some time after, Anno CCCXXXV. he commanded another Synod to be held at Tyre, impowering our Eusebius and some others to enquire into the Merits of the Cause, charging Athanasius under severe Penalties to appear. Who cameq accordingly, attended with several Egyptian Bishops, his Suffragans, who appeared in his behalf. Amongst which was Potamo Bishop of Heraclea, who had been Eu∣sebius his Fellow-prisoner under the Diocletian Persecution: A man of a blunt and rugged Temper, who beholding Eusebius upon the Bench, transported with an ungovernable Zeal, rudely accosted him in this manner. And must you, Eusebius, sit upon the Bench, whilest innocent Athanasius stands to be judged by you at the Bar? Who can en∣dure such Proceedings? Tell me, were not you in Prison with me in the time of the Persecution? I for my part lost an Eye in defence of the Truth; you have neither Wounds to shew in any part of your Body, neither suf∣fered any kind of Martyrdom, but are alive and whole. How got you out of Prison, unless you either engag'd to the Persecutors to offer Sacrifice, or it may be actually did it. The improbability of which uncharitable Suggestion we shew'd before. Eusebius offended with so insolent a Reflection, and thinking such carriages ill beseeming Persons accus'd towards the Emperor's Commissioners, rose up and dissolved the Meeting for that time, saying, If when you are come hither, you take the Liberty to talk at this rate against us, the things may be true which your Accusers lay to your Charge: For if you exercise so much Tyranny here, what will you do in your own Country?
XVIII. WHILE things were thus debating at Tyre, the Bishops were summoned by the Emperor's Letters, to go forthwith to Jeru∣salem, to celebrate the Dedication of that famous Church which he had erected there. For Constantine had some time since, by a Letterr directed to Macarius Bishop of Jerusalem, given order for the build∣ing a most stately Church, over the Place of our Lord's Resurrecti∣on, or as others, the Place of his Passion; or as some, one in each, commanding that it should be done with all the Advantages of Splendor and Greatness, and that neither Cost nor Pains should be spar'd about it. And the Work was done accordingly, the Porch be∣fore it large and open, pay'd with shining Stone, and encompassed Page 24 on three sides with large Portico's, the Church it self large and high, the Walls on the out-side of polish'd Stone, on the in-side set with va∣riegated Marble, the Roof adorn'd with the choicest carv'd Work, all overlay'd with Gold, at the upper end a Semicircle, surrounded with twelve Columns, after the number of the Twelve Apostles, the tops whereof were crown'd with Chapiters of Silver. But I shall not undertake to describe Particulars, it may suffice, that it wanted nothing of Ornament or Magnificence which Art or Cost could con∣fer upon it; not to mention the Princely Gifts, especially the rich Carpet and Hangings for the Altar, curiously wrought with Gold and Jewels, and suchlike noble Presents, which he bestowed upon it. Hither cames the Bishops from Tyre, where they were met by multitudes from other Provinces, who flock'd to this Solemnity, and were receiv d with great State by Persons of Honour and Quality sent from Court to entertain them at the Emperor's cost; the chief of whom was Marianus the Emperor's Secretary, a Pious and Religious man, who having been a Confessor in the late Times, was the fittest to be employ'd upon this Errand. The Solemnity was manag'd with all imaginable Expressions of Festivity and Rejoycing, magnificent Feasts and Entertainments, mighty Charity to the Poor, but especially Acts of great Piety towards God, the Bishops imploying themselves in the Offices of Religion, in Prayers and Sermons, some celebrating the Emperor's Piety towards our Saviour, and the magnificence of the Structure; others discoursing upon some divine Subject, accommo∣dated to the present Occasion. Some expounding the Portion appointed to be read out of the holy Scriptures, explaining the mystical and hidden sence; others not so well qualified for that, being taken up in the Celebration of the Eucharist, and in Prayers and Praises, in∣terceding with God for the common Peace, for the good of the Church, for the Emperor and his happy Issue. But herein none bore a greater Part than our Eusebius, honouring the Solemnity with se∣veral publick Discourses, sometimes by writing, setting forth the greatness of the royal Edifice; other whiles representing the Pro∣phetick Scriptures, and adapting them to the present State of things; and after all, drawing up a particular Description of this famous Church, the fashion of our Saviour's Sepulchre, the beauty and ele∣gancy of the Building, the several Gifts wrought with Gold, Silver, and precious Stones; in a Book on purpose of this Subject, which he dedicated to the Emperor, and annexed to his Books, De vita Con∣stantini; but 'tis long since lost.
XIX. DURING the Celebration of this great Solemnity, Atha∣nasius had made hist Address at Court, complaining of the unjust Proceedings against him in the late Council of Tyre; whereupon the Emperor summon'd some of those Bishops to Court, to give an ac∣count of the Transactions of that Synod. Who came accordingly to Constantinople, and our Eusebius amongst the rest; and it being now near the Thirtieth year of Constantine's reign, he solemniz'd his Tri∣cennalia; at that time Eusebius made that famous Encomiasticku in praise of Constantine yet extant, which the Emperor honour'd with his Presence; and how well he lik'd it, he shew'd by the chearful∣ness of his looks, and those peculiar Honours and Entertainments wherewith he treated the Bishops at the end of it. This being, as Page 25 he tells us, the second Oration, which he had made before the Em∣peror in his Palace; the formerw having been a Panegyrick upon our Saviour's Sepulchre, which the pious Emperor, though in his own House, heard standing, although Eusebius importun'd him to take his Chair. And when fearing to tire him with the length of his Discourse, he offered in civility to break off, the Emperor bad him to proceed unto the End, at which he again press'd him to sit down, but the Emperor refus'd, saying, 'twas not fit at any time, much less at this, to hear Discourses concerning God in postures of ease and softness, and that it was very Pious to stand while we were hear∣ing Discourses about Divine things. Amongst others that absented themselves both from the Synod at Tyre, and the dedicatory Solemni∣ty at Jerusalem, was Marcellus Bishop of Ancyra the Metropolis of Galatia, who became the Author of some disturbance in the Church upon this occasion. Asterius a Sophister of Cappadocia had lately pu∣blish'd some Books in Syria, in defence of the Arian Tenets; which Marc•llus reading, undertook to answer, wherein either designedly, or by surprize, he fell into another extream, running into the Opinion of Paulus Samosatenus, that our blessed Saviour was but a meer man, that he took hisx existence from the time of his Incarnation, be∣fore which he had no proper Hypostasis, but lay quiescent in the Mind and Will of the Father, as a Word does in man, till actual speaking brings it forth, and that at last his Kingdom should cease, and his hu∣mane Nature being put off, he should be again resolv'd into the existence of the Father; together with suchlike gross and impious Assertions, stuffing his Book with tart Reflections,y bitter and severe Invectives against those that differed from him, sparing neither living nor dead, heaping loads of Calumnies and Reproaches upon them. This Book he had presented, with a great many flattering Addresses, and Insinuations to the Emperor, hoping he would espouse and undertake his Cause, but the Emperor referr'd the Examination and Determination of the Matter to the Bishops now assembled in Synodz at Constantinople, the Process was begun against him in the Council at Jerusalem, during which he had engag'd he would burn his Book. But that Assembly being sudden∣ly broke up by the hasty Message they received from the Emperor, the business for that time was laid aside. But being now at better leasure, they resum'd the Process, and finding the man would not comply with his former promise, they proceeded to his censure, and depos'd him from his Bishoprick, substituting one Basil a learned and eloquent Person in his room, and wrote to the Churches in those Parts to hunt out his Book, and burn it where-ever they found it, and to recover those who had been infected with it; annexing to their Epistle some Extracts out of it, containing those Pestilent Dogmata that were in it. Which done, they commandeda our Eusebius to undertake the Confutation of it, which he accordingly performed in five Books; the two first expresly written against Marcellus, wherein he exposes his Opinions out of his own Writings, with some brief Reflections upon them: In the other three intitled, de Ecclesiastica Theologia, dedicated to Flaccillus Bishop of Antioch, he sets himself to a more strict and accurate Refutation of them, and in both plainly evinces him to have been guilty of Sabellianism and the Samosatenian Errors. As for Marcellus himself he made a shift a long time to bear up his Reputation by his adhering to the Orthodox, sheltring himself Page 26 especially under the wing of Athanasius, who pleaded strongly for him at every turn, and recommended his Cause at Rome, whither he fled, and was entertain'd by Pope Julius, where he published an Apology for himself, and finally was acquitted, and restor'd to his See by the Synod at Sardica, who declar'db that what he had written had been propounded only by way of Question, not delivered as positive and dogmatical Assertions; that he did not maintain (what was charged upon him) that God the Word, took his beginning from his Incarnation, nor that his Kingdom should have an end; but on the contrary he affirm'd, that his Kingdom neither had a beginning, nor should ever have an end. And yet after all he prov'd a subtle Heretick, and was condemn'd and rejected not only by S. Basilc, but by Athanasius himself.d And Epiphanius tellse us, that when him∣self once ask'd Athanasius, what he thought of him, as he did not passionately exclaim against him, so neither would he acquit him, only smiling at the mention of him. And evident it is, that Epipha∣nius himself thought him guilty of very Heretical Notions and Pro∣positions, and that the very Apologies which he was forc'd to make for himself, shew'd that there lay something at the bottom.
XX. IT was now the year CCCXXXVII. when the Great Con∣stantine left the World: His Distemper at first, was only a light In∣disposition,f which soon grew up into an incurable Sickness, for which cause he was first carried to the Baths, thence remov'd to Helenople, and so to Achyrona, a place within the Suburbs of Nicomedia, where he immediately caus'd himself to be bap∣tiz'd; and being, as the custom in such Cases was, cloath'd in White, he would thenceforth suffer no Purple to come near him. Having made his Will, and disposed the Affairs of the Empire, with a mind infinitely satisfied in what he had done, and impatiently de∣sirous of that State whither he was going; he expir'd in his Palace at Nicomedia May the XXII. about Noon, being the last day of the Pen∣tecost Solemnity, after he had reign'd thirty years and ten months. His Death was usher'dg in by a blazing Star, and exceedingly la∣mented by the Souldiers and Officers of the Army, by all the Ministers of State, and universally by all the Subjects of the Empire, the Se∣nate and People of Rome shutting up their Baths, and the Fora, pro∣hibiting all publick Spectacles and delightful Entertainments, and dedicating Statues to him; and all the while his Body lay in State at Nicomedia, all the great Officers at Court, the Senators and Magi∣strates of the City dayly came and paid the same Reverence and Obey∣sance to him, which they were wont to do while he was alive. Con∣stantius being arriv'd, the Corps was with all the Pomp and Solem∣nity that was befitting the Funerals of so great a Prince, translated from Nicomedia to Constantinople, and there with universal Sorrow, inter'd in the Vestibulum of the great Church, which he himself had erected and dedicated to the holy Apostles. A Prince of a generous Mind, and undaunted Courage, and an indefatigable Industry, where∣to he was greatly animated by an unsatisfied desire of Praise, especi∣ally military Glory. Admirable Laws he fram'd for the common Good, which he Impartially executed. The Embassies and Com∣plaints from the Provinces he heard patiently, and did them Justice. He was powerful and prosperous, a great Patron of Learning in others, and himself very learned and studious; and which is above all, Page 27 devout and pious, having from his first Conversion to Christianity, express'd a mighty Zeal and Passion for the Honour of God, and the Interests of Religion. Zosimus a Pagan Writer asperses his Memory, with a very odious, but withall unjust Representation of the Reason of his turning Christian. He tells us,h that being haunted with the Conscience of his notorious Crimes in the Death of his Son Crispus, and his Lady Fausta, and his persidious dealing with Licinius, he applied himself to the Gentile Priests for Purgation and Absolution, who told him, their Religion allow'd no methods of Expiation for such great Offences; that hereupon he was brought into acquaintance with an Egyptian newly arriv'd from Spain, who assur'd him that the Christian Religion was able to do away any Crimes whatso∣ever, and that no sooner did the most profligate Wretch close with it, but he should be immediately deliver'd from the Guilt of all his Sins; upon which assurance he renounc'd the Religion of his Ance∣stors, and went over to the Christians. This is the Tale as told by my Author. But besides the known Spite and Malice of the man in Matters relating to Christianity, there needs no more to confute the Story, than that the account is inconsistent with it self, it being plain beyond all denial, that Constantine had embrac'd the Christian Religion no less than ten or eleven years before those unhappy ac∣cidents of the Death of Crispus and Fausta fell out, which this Author makes the immediate occasion of his Conversion to it. Another Gentile Historiani is more favourable to his Memory, he commends him for his Learning, Eloquence, and Courteousness, and the rest of those Vertues, for which he was celebrated and cry'd up to the Skyes; and affirms, that had he but put some bounds to his Bounty and Ambition, and those Arts wherewith great Minds are usually carried away in an over eager persuit of Glory, he had come nearer to a God than a man. He was modest and humble, and notwithstanding some acts of Severity and perhaps Cruelty, which the reasons and necessi∣ties of State might put him upon, and whereof we at this distance can make no true Judgment, tender and compassionate, of a courte∣ous and obliging Temper, kind to all, and charitable to the Poor, large and even profuse in his Gifts, magnificent in his Expences, which made him sometimes grate hard upon the Subject in Taxes and Tributes, but especially bountiful to Admiration to the Bishops and Guides of Religion, to whom he thought he could never enough express an honourable Regard, tender of the State of the Empire, but most incomparably sollicitous of the Peace of the Church. But it is not for me to attempt his Character, the thing is done by a much better Hand, one who knew him best, and was most familiarly Con∣versant with him, I mean our Eusebius, who not long after his Death drew up an account of his Life and Actions, not in the way of a strict History, but more like an Orator and Encomiast, not designing (as himself assuresk us) to fill up all the Particularities of his Life, but to draw the more considerable Lineaments and Proportions, in some of the greater lines and strokes of his Piety and Vertue, which was all he propounded to himself in that Work. Which may serve as an Answer to the great Exception which Photiusl makes against it, that in it he gives no larger an account concerning the Affairs of Arius, and the Transactions of the Council of Nice, his design being more Page 28 immediately restrain'd to the personal Affairs of Constantine; and that too in an Encomiastick, rather than in a strict Historical way, which Socratesm assigns as the Reason of this Omission. This he has done in four Books, or, as in Robert Stephens his Edition they are reckoned, five, which a learned mann wonders whence he deriv'd. But plain it is, that long before him Nicephoruso had expresly mention'd five Books, under the last no doubt comprehending his Description of the Church of our Saviour's Sepulchre, or it may be Constantine's Oration, ad Coetum Sanctorum, both which Eusebius himself had an∣nexed as an Appendix to them; for that he could not mean his Orati∣on de laudibus Constantini, is evident, in that immediately after he reckons it as distinct from it. This work he tells usp he undertook as a piece of gratitude to his great Master, thinking it very shame∣ful and indecent, that when Nero's and Caligula's had found those who cloath'd their bad Actions in large and elegant Relations, he should be silent in the Cause of so good and incomparable a Prince, who had had the Honour to stand before him, and familiarly to con∣verse with him. And for this reason perhaps he uses somewhat a more neat and florid style, than in his other Writings. Which hath given occasion to some to call in question the genuineness of the Book it self. But 'tis a wonder to me, any learned man should doubt of it; when not to insist upon other Arguments, and the unanimous Authority of the Ancients; Eusebiusq himself does more than once and again expresly own himself to be the Author of it.
XXI. NOR did Eusebius himself long survive his great Patron, dyingrAnno CCCXL. a little before the Death of the younger Constantine: Succeeded in his See by Acacius one of his Schollars, a man of con∣siderable learning, who amongst many other Books wrote the Life of his Master Eusebius, which had it been extant, would have enabled us to present his Affairs with a better Face, without being so much beholden to the Pens of those who had no great kindness for him. He was a man sober and serious, of a very strict and Philosophick course of Life, infinitely zealous for the Honour and Interest of the Christian Religion, which he readily defended against all Opposers. His Parts were great, and his Learning incomparable, for which the Age he liv'd in, and all Ages ever since have risen up before him with a just Veneration. So uncontroulable his Reputation herein, even in those early Times, that when Sabinus the Macedonian Bishop (who collected the Acts of several Synods) charg'd the Fathers of the Nicene Council, for a Company of rude and illiterate Persons, Socratess thought it Exception enough to that slander, to say, that he involv'd Eusebius in that Charge, whose Learning was above all Exception. Nay one of his greatest Adversariest is forc'd to give him this Testimony, that he was a man of singular Learning, one that had run thorough and search'd into all the Books and Writings of the Ancients, and laid open their several Sentiments and Opinions; Evidences whereof he tells us, are those many excellent Writings which he left behind him for the benefit of Posterity. He wrote sayes S. Jerom,u infinite Volums, many whereof are long since lost, and some, the notice whereof never arriv'd at us. His Books against Porphyry (not now extant) and of the Preparation and Demon∣stration of the Gospel, shew how great a Defender he was of the Page 29 Christian Cause, and how able to baffle both Jew and Gentile at their own Weapon. Nor was he less vers'd in the Antiquities of the Church, and the Acts and Sufferings of the Martyrs, the Memoires whereof he drew together, wherein he was furnish'd with an in∣comparable Advantage, if it be true, what S. Jerom, or the Author under his name probably enough reports,w that when Constantine the Great came to Caesarea, and bad Eusebius ask whatever might be ad∣vantageous and beneficial to his Church, he told the Emperor, his Church was well enough endow'd already, but that there was one thing which he most passionately desir'd, that the Proceedings of the Judges and Governours successively against the Martyrs and Con∣fessors through all Parts of the Roman Empire might be diligently sought out, and the Records and Monuments search'd, and that what Martyrs suffered under such Judges, in what City or Province, upon what day, and by what kind of Martyrdom, all these notices being extracted out of the publick Archives and Registers, might by His Majesties Order be transmitted to him. Which was done accordingly, and out of these Materials he principally compil'd his Ecclesiastick History, and made up that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 he so often mentions, the Collection of ancient Martyrdoms, which the Acts of S. Silvester assurex us, consisted of eleven Books, where∣in he describ'd the Sufferings which Persons of all sorts underwent in all the Parts and Provinces of the World. A vast Work, and which is saidy (how truly I know not) to be still extant in the King's Li∣brary at the Escurial in Spain. His style in all his Writings, (as Pho∣tiusz observes) is neither pure nor pleasant, neither elegant nor perspi∣cuous, though in his Books de vita Constantini, more neat and florid than the rest. And this roughness of Phrase Theodore Metochitaa supposes he contracted by living a good while in Egypt, affirming that all who were educated there, were infected with such a harsh and rugged Style.
XXII. BUT that which has rais'd a loud outcry against his Name and Memory, is his siding with the Arians in their Councils against the Catholicks, and his at best doubtful and ambiguous Ex∣pressions in those controverted Doctrines, upon which account S. Jeromb at every turn makes no scruple to style him the Head, the Champion, the Standard-bearer of the Party. And the Charge is generally taken for granted, and in most Cases 'tis put in as a barr to his Authority; and a late learned manc to help on the Matter, makes the Eusebian Faction to have been denominated and deriv'd from him, when 'tis notoriously evident they were so call'd from the other Eu∣sebius, Bishop of Nicomedia. It must be confess'd, he maintain'd a great Correspondence with the Chief of the Arian Party. His fre∣quent attendance at Court, and in all Ecclesiastical Assemblies, en∣gaging him in their Society, whose Principles it's like he did not believe to be so bad, as others apprehended them; and plain it is, by his Letter to the Bishop of Alexandria, that Arius by shifting and dressing up his Notions, and by other Arts of Dissimulation, had impos'd upon him. Nor, can it be denied, but that there are many unwary and dangerous Expressions to be found in his Writings: And what wonder, if one that had so long convers'd with the several Books and Principles of Philosophers, especially the Writings of the Plato∣nists, that had so throughly canvass'd the Books of Origen, should Page 30 express himself in such sublime and intricate Questions, in a way somewhat different from others of that Age, especially while as yet the Church had made no explicite Determination in those Points, considering withall, how loosely and uncautiously many other Ante-Nicene Fathers, as well as he, express themselves in these Matters? But not to rest in a general Apology, let us consider a little, what Materials he himself can furnish out to one that would undertake his Plea. And whoever impartially considers the Case, will find enough, I doubt not, in his own Writings, those especially of his latter time, to vindicate him from the Charge of downright Arianism, to be sure extreamly to mitigate the severity of the Censures that are pass'd upon him. Amongst many, a few Instances shall suffice; can we suppose him an Arian, that confessesd the Dignity, the Nature and Essence of the Son of God to be ineffable, that he was a Light before the World was; the intellectual and essential Wisdom that was be∣fore all Ages; the living Word that was with the Father in the be∣ginning, and was God? That not only Stylese him 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the natural Son of that God that is over all, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 God of himself (then which nothing could be said more expresly to assert his self-subsisting independent Deity, it being a Word, which I am sure no Arian in the World can use;) and a little after,f〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Word that is universal King and Governour, and of himself God. And else∣where,g the perfect Word, the only begotten of the Father, not consisting like other Words in the Power of Prolation, not com∣pounded of Names, Words and Syllables, nor express'd by articulate Sounds, but the living and operative Word of the great God, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, personally subsisting, which as being the Power and Wisdom of God, proceeds out of his Father's Godhead and Dominion. He tellsh us it is the Doctrine of the Church, to acknowledge but one God, the Father of the only begotten Son, and Jesus Christ that only Son, not according to carnal Generation, but according to that (incomprehensible to us) which he had of the Father before all Worlds, by which he receives the fullness of the Father's Godhead; that the true Catholick Church ownsi but one God, and one only begotten Son, and him God of God, begotten of his Fatherk before all Worlds; being indeed not the same with the Father 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but subsisting and living of himself, and truly co-existing with the Father, God of God, Light of Light, and Life of Life, begotten of the Father in a manner ineffable, and altogether unconceivable by humane understanding, that he is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Life, Wisdom, and Reason it self, all which he immediately communicates to created Beings: Thatl the Son is of one and the same Substance, as proceeding from one and the same Father; that the divine Nature is simple, indivisible, and uncompounded, with∣out Parts, not otherwise capable of being God. Therefore he makesm it great Blasphemy in Marcellus, to make God the Word differ in Power and Essence from the Father; and expresly affirms,n that the only begotten Word of God does 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Reign together with the Father from Ages, without beginning unto infinite and Page 31 eternal Ages. If he at any time affirm the Father to be the only true God, he never does it to exclude the Son, but as the word God does primarily refer to the Father as the Fountain and Principium of the Deity, never understanding it (as he tellsoMarcellus, who ob∣jected this very thing) in any other Sence, than wherein our Saviour meant it, when he said, thee, the only true God. If he stylep him (as sometimes he does) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a secondary Cause, 'tis plain he means it of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of the Son, either as he co-operates with and serves his Father's Will in the Work of Creation, or of his procuring great Blessings to Mankind, as Mediator, and the Saviour of the World, in which respects the ancient Fathers made no scruple of styling him 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a Servant and Minister, before the Arian Controversies disturb'd the Church: Nay in that very place where he calls him a second Cause; he yet adds, that he is the natural and only begotten Son of God; the Lord, God, and King of all created Beings, who together with the Godhead, the Power and Honour, receiv'd Empire and Dominion from the Father. When he assertsq that he is not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one and the same with God, he means, that he has not the same Hypostasis with the Father, in opposition to Marcellus, who main∣tain'd that impious Error; otherwise, that he did subsist, and had 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, his proper and peculiar Life; thatr there is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one Head and Principle of the Deity, which is God the Father, who has a proper, unbegotten, imprincipiate Deity, and Fountain of Monarchical Power, which he imparts and communicates to the Son, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, making him to partake of his Divinity and Life, and this still as he is the Prin∣cipium and Fountain of the Godhead: In which Sence he after∣wards declaress the Son to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, nei∣ther without beginning, nor unbegotten, lest the Church should make two several Principium's, and two Gods. He tells us,t that the Son was alwayes present, and intimately Conversant with the Father, and that when he came into the World to prosecute the Sal∣vation of Mankind, he came forth of the most inward and unapproach∣able recesses of the paternal Divinity and Power; and that the same was true concerning the holy Spirit, which yet was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, another subsistence from the Son. His design in that place, being to shew that there are three Hypostases in the Trinity, against the Doctrine of Marcellus, who taught that Father Son and holy Ghost, were but three Names of one and the same Hypostasis. It must be confest, that a little after he dangerously affirmsu the Spirit to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one of the things that were made by the Son; unless we understand him concerning the temporal Mission of the holy Ghost, whom Christ pro∣mis'd to bestow upon the World. How oft does he expresly deny those Propositions, that the Son was made of things not existent, and that there was a time when he was not, therein subverting some of the chief Arian Dogmata, condemn'd in terminis in the Nicene Creed, and by which Athanasiusw himself confesses, though he purg'd himself, he condemn'd them. Add to all which, his Subscribing the Nicene Creed, wherein the Arian Doctrines were condemn'd with all ima∣ginable care and accuracy. And though it be uncharitably suggested Page 32 by many, that he did this with a fraudulent and deceitful Mind, un∣derstanding the Terms in his own Sence, yet nothing can be plainer, than that he freely and solemnly protests in his Letter to the People of Caesarea, that he took them in that very Sence and Explication of them, which the Fathers of that Council had themselves fixed upon them. Nor did he subscribe rashly, and hand over head, but with mature deliberation, and after a most strict Examination of every word, and a being fully satisfied in the Sence of every Article, as in that Letter is declar'd at large. And though he seldom or never uses the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for which he had no fancy, as being an unscri∣ptural Term; yet the thing it self he fully owns, that the Son has the same Essence and Substance with the Father, as we have before observ'd more than once, thatx he is his only begotten Son, his Image, proceeding of him, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, altogether and in all things most like to him that begat him, yea of himself God: And thaty therefore they are justly to be condemn'd, that dare to call him a Creature, or affirm that he proceeds out of a state of Non-existence after the manner of created Beings. All which considered, makes me the more wonder at what Athanasius tellsz us our Eusebius expresly affirm'd in a Letter to Euphration, that Christ is not true God. Pitty it is, that the Epistle it self is not now extant, that we might have viewed his genuine Sence. Sure I am, the Pro∣position, as 'tis represented by Athanasius, is plainly contrary to, and inconsistent with the most mature and deliberate Declarations of his mind in all his Writings extant at this day. All that can be guess'd at this distance is, what arises from the Acts of the second Nicene Council (where thisa and another short Passage is cited out of that Letter) that the Son is inferior to the Father, for which he quotes those words of our Saviour, my Father that sent me is greater than I. Which whether he understood of Christ's mediatory Capacity, or extended also to his filial Relation, and that too in respect of Essence and Power, is not sufficiently plain from that place. And then for the other Expression, that the Son himself is God indeed, but not the true God, 'tis barely repeated; though we may rationally suppose, he directly referr'd in it to that saying of Christ, That they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. And him∣self abundantly clears this matter, when he tells us,b that Marcellus charg'd him with holding, not that there was only one God, but that there was only one true God; as if he allowed other Gods that were not truly and properly so. But he denies the Charge, that ever he affirm'd the Father to be the only true God, and appeals to his own words; and assures us, he had only quoted that foremention'd Text. And he complainsc of the same Person, that he accus'd him of holding Christ to be a meer man, for no other cause, than that in one of his Letters he had made use of that place of the Apostle; There is one God, and one Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus.
XXIII. NOR wanted there some, even in those times when the loudest Clamours were made against him, that stood up in his defence. Not to mention others, who because of their Inclination to Arianism, may be less credited in their Testimony; Socratesd in a Page 33 set Discourse by particular passages out of his Writings, (besides what we have already alledg'd) proves him not to have been guilty of the Arian Notions, affirming that it cannot be prov'd out of his Books, that he ascribes beginning of Essence to the Son of God, though he frequently uses words relating to his Oeconomy or Dispensation. Thus Gelasius Bishop of Cyzicum, positively acquitse him of this Charge, and affirms, that if he said or wrote any thing, that in the least borders upon Arianism, he did it not with a bad intent, but meerly through heedlesness and Incircumspection, and that Eusebius himself made good all this in an Apologetick Discourse, which he publish'd and directed to all the Orthodox Bishops of the Church. As for the second Council of Nice, that layes the Charge so home and downright upon him, it's the less to be wond'red at, when 'tis remembred, that the great business of that Council being to establish the Worship of Images, and being press'd by their Adversaries, with the Authority of E s•bius his Letter to the Empress Constantia, so full against it, they knew no better way to decline the blow, than by directly charging him to have been an Arian, (though had he been so, it had in that Case made nothing against his Testimony) producing only some few Fragments to that purpose, and those out of Letters written before the Determinations of the Council of Nice. In the Western Church he far'd better, scarce any of them (S. Jerom ex∣cepted, whose Zeal and Passion in this, as in many other Cases, over∣sway'd his Judgment) speaking of him without great Honour and Re∣verence: Insomuch that he was taken into their Calendars and Marty∣rologies, and the highest Eulogiesf and Commendations heap'd upon him, honour'd with the title of Saint, and a most blessed Priest of holy Memory. And in their Missals and Breviaries had particular Lessons, and divine Offices appointed for the Celebration of his Memory. I cannot but commend the Moderation of Pope Pelagius the Second,g who speaking concerning the Case of Origen, sayes, that good men may sometimes commend them that are bad; and amongst others In∣stances in our Eusebius, who had written an Apology in behalf of Origen: Amongst Hereticks, sayes he, who worse than Origen? And amongst Historians, who more honourable than Eusebius? In this Case, he tells us, the Church rather expounds the Opinion of its faithful Servants into a favourable sence, than nicely weighs and wracks their words; such a defence as it does not acquit the Innocent, so neither does it make the other Guilty. Amongst the Writers of this latter Age, none have fallen upon him with greater severity than Baronius, who when he has so often plentifully treated his Readers at his cost, falls upon him with the fierceness of an Enemy, hooking in all Occasions to bespatter and reproach him, whether with greater rudeness or in∣gratitude, 'tis hard to say. And the Case had been the more pardon∣able, had it been pure Zeal for the Truth, that had engag'd him in those smart Invectives. But I'm afraid 'twas something else made him so irreconcileably angry with Eusebius, I mean his affirming Con∣stantine the Great to have been baptiz'd at Nicomedia a little before his Death, thereby robbing the Church of Rome of the Honour of it, and what's worse, of those great Gifts and extraordinary Priviledges and Immunities said by him to have been, at the time of his Baptism, confer'd upon that Church. 'Twas thish so much provok'd the Page 34 Cardinals choler, for this he pelts him with hard Names, calls him Arian, Cheat, and Impostor, affirming, that he feign'd this in favor of Constantius the Arian Emperor. But let us see what Foundation there is for all this Out-cry. Eusebius liv'd at that time, no man of his Order greater at Court, and was near enough to know the Truth of what was done nay probably was himself upon the spot amongst those Bishops he speaks of, that were call'd to Court, and thereby enabled to give so ready an account of the Discourses, and all the particular Circumstances of that dying Emperor. And suppose him to have had a design to forge such a Report, it was not consistent with a man of ordinary either Piety or Prudence to have publish'd it when the thing was fresh, and so many Persons of Quality and Credit capable to disprove him. Besides he has all Antiquity herein on his side; not to mention particular Writers, the Catholick Bishops met in the Synod at Ariminum not much above twenty years after, attest the same thing in their Letteri to Constantius, that Constantine of happy Memory being baptiz'd, went to that state of Rest and Peace that was reserv'd for him. Baronius found himself exceedingly gra∣vel'd with this Testimony, and instead of untying, downright cuts the Knot, crying out of Falshood and Forgery, confidently affirming, and promising to give up the Cause, if he make it not out, that the Epistle, (though he confesses it to be as we have represented it both in Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodorit) in that part of it is corrupted, and Constantine foisted instead of Constans. For that so it should be, he proves (and after so much confidence, his evidence had need be weighty and powerful) from the Copy of that Synodical Epistle, as 'tis extant in Athanasius. And so indeed it is in the Latin Translation of it, but had he lookt into the Greek,k he would have found small cause to rejoyce so much in his Invention, it being not Constans, but Constantine there, as well as in all other Copies of that Epistle, and even in the original Draught extant in S. Hilary: Not to say that the sence of the Place necessarily determines it to Constantine the Great. To contend so zealously for a Matter (as they account it,) of so much importance to their Church, one would imagine, that besides en∣deavouring to disable the Authorities that are against it, they should have some very strong positive Testimonies to confirm it. And yet after all, the whole Story is built upon no better Foundation than the fabulous Acts of S. Silvester, which have no just Ground or Pillar of Truth or Probability to support them. I might add, that the Story of Constantine's being baptiz'd at Rome, is plainly given up by some of greatest Note and Learning in that Church, especially Halloixl the Jesuit, and Morinusm the Oratorian, though the free de∣claring his mind in this Matter, cost Morin no little displeasure in the Court of Rome. But I return to Eus•bius. Whatever obnoxious passages may be in his Writings, would but men bring the same Candor and Ingenuity that ought to be us'd towards all controversial Writers, were but abatements made for Discourses about such abstruse and incomprehensible Speculations, were but his Expressions allow'd the favour of those Rules and Distinctions, which all wise and learned men have agreed on for the explaining the Doctrine of the Trinity, and hypostastick Union, and such-like unfathomable Mysteries; were but his obscure or dangerous Expressions, expounded by those that Page 35 are sound and warrantable, I doubt not but a tolerable account might be given of any passages of this Nature, even those that are most doubt∣ful and exceptionable, and which it must be confest, will not other∣wise bear a rigorous Examination.