Prolegomena Part 1

the church history of eusebius.


Translated with prolegomena and notes


The rev. arthur cushman mcgiffert, Ph.d.

professor of church history in lane theological seminary, cincinnati



The present translation of the Church History of Eusebius has been made
from Heinichen’s second edition of the Greek text, but variant readings
have been adopted without hesitation whenever they have approved
themselves to my judgment. In all such cases the variation from
Heinichen’s text has been indicated in the notes. A simple revision of
Cruse’s English version was originally proposed, but a brief
examination of it was sufficient to convince me that a satisfactory
revision would be an almost hopeless task, and that nothing short of a
new and independent translation ought to be undertaken. In the
preparation of that translation, invaluable assistance has been
rendered by my father, the Rev. Joseph N. McGiffert, D.D., for whose
help and counsel I desire thus publicly to give expression to my
profound gratitude. The entire translation has been examined by him and
owes much to his timely suggestions and criticisms; while the
translation itself of a considerable portion of the work (Bks. V.-VIII.
and the Martyrs of Palestine) is from his hand. The part thus rendered
by him I have carefully revised for the purpose of securing uniformity
in style and expression throughout the entire work, and I therefore
hold myself alone responsible for it as well as for the earlier and
later books. As to the principle upon which the translation has been
made, little need be said. The constant endeavor has been to reproduce
as nearly as possible, both the substance and form of the original, and
in view of the peculiar need of accuracy in such a work as the present,
it has seemed better in doubtful cases to run the risk of erring in the
direction of over-literalness rather than in that of undue license.

A word of explanation in regard to the notes which accompany the text
may not be out of place. In view of the popular character of the series
of which the present volume forms a part, it seemed important that the
notes should contain much supplementary information in regard to
persons, places, and events mentioned in the text which might be quite
superfluous to the professional historian as well as to the student
enjoying access to libraries rich in historical and bibliographical
material, and I have therefore not felt justified in confining myself
to such questions as might interest only the critical scholar.
Requested by the general editor to make the work in some sense a
general history of, or historical commentary upon, the first three
centuries of the Christian Church, I have ventured to devote
considerable space to a fuller presentation of various subjects but
briefly touched upon or merely referred to by Eusebius. At the same
time my chief endeavor has been, by a careful study of difficult and
disputed points, to do all that I could for their elucidation, and thus
to perform as faithfully as possible the paramount duty of a
commentator. The number and fulness of the notes needed in such a work
must of course be matter of dispute, but annoyed as I have repeatedly
been by the fragmentary character of the annotations in the existing
editions of the work, I have been anxious to avoid that defect, and
have therefore passed by no passage which seemed to me to need
discussion, nor consciously evaded any difficulty. Working with
historical students constantly in mind I have felt it due to them to
fortify all my statements by references to the authorities upon which
they have been based, and to indicate at the same time with sufficient
fullness the sources whose examination a fuller investigation of the
subject on their part might render necessary. The modern works which
have been most helpful are mentioned in the notes, but I cannot in
justice refrain from making especial reference at this point to Smith
and Wace’s Dictionary of Christian Biography which has been constantly
at my side, and to the first and second volumes of Schaff’s Church
History, whose bibliographies have been especially serviceable. Many of
Valesius’ notes have been found very suggestive and must always remain
valuable in spite of the great advance made in historical knowledge
since his day. For the commentary of Heinichen less can be said.
Richardson’s Bibliographical Synopsis, published as a supplement to the
Ante-Nicene Library, did not come into my hands until the greater part
of the work was completed. In the preparation of the notes upon the
latter portion it proved helpful, and its existence has enabled me
throughout the work to omit extended lists of books which it would
otherwise have been necessary to give.

It was my privilege some three years ago to study portions of the
fourth and fifth books of Eusebius’ Church History with Professor Adolf
Harnack in his Seminar at Marburg. Especial thanks are due for the help
and inspiration gained from that eminent scholar, and for the light
thrown by him upon many difficult passages in those portions of the

It gives me pleasure also to express my obligation to Dr. Isaac G.
Hall, of New York, and to Dr. E. C. Richardson, of Hartford, for
information furnished by them in regard to certain editions of the
History, also to the Rev. Charles R. Gillett, Librarian of Union
Theological Seminary, and to the Rev. J. H. Dulles, Librarian of
Princeton Theological Seminary, for their kindness in granting me the
privileges of the libraries under their charge, and for their unfailing
courtesy shown me in many ways. To Mr. James McDonald, of Shelbyville,
Ky., my thanks are due for his translation of the Testimonies for and
against Eusebius, printed at the close of the Prolegomena, and to Mr.
F. E. Moore, of New Albany, Ind., for assistance rendered in connection
with the preparation of the indexes.

Arthur Cushman McGiffert.

Lane Theological Seminary,

April 15, 1890.



The Life and writings of

Eusebius of Caesarea.


Chapter I

The Life of Eusebius.

S: 1. Sources and Literature

Acacius, the pupil and successor of Eusebius in the bishopric of
Caesarea, wrote a life of the latter (Socr. H. E. II. 4) which is
unfortunately lost. He was a man of ability (Sozomen H. E. III. 2, IV.
23) and had exceptional opportunities for producing a full and accurate
account of Eusebius’ life; the disappearance of his work is therefore
deeply to be regretted.

Numerous notices of Eusebius are found in the works of Socrates,
Sozomen, Theodoret, Athanasius, Jerome, and other writers of his own
and subsequent ages, to many of which references will be made in the
following pages. A collection of these notices, made by Valesius, is
found in English translation on p. 57 sq. of this volume. The chief
source for a knowledge of Eusebius’ life and character is to be found
in his own works. These will be discussed below, on p. 26 sq. Of the
numerous modern works which treat at greater or less length of the life
of Eusebius I shall mention here only those which I have found most

Valesius: De vita scriptisque Eusebii Diatribe (in his edition of
Eusebius’ Historia Eccles.; English version in Cruse’s translation of
the same work).

Cave: Lives of the Fathers, II. 95-144 (ed. H. Cary, Oxf. 1840).

Tillemont: Hist. Eccles. VII. pp. 39-75 (compare also his account of
the Arians in vol. VI.).

Stroth: Leben und Schriften des Eusebius (in his German translation of
the Hist. Eccles.).

Closs: Leben und Schriften des Eusebius (in his translation of the same

Danz: De Eusebio Caesariensi, Historiae Eccles. Scriptore, ejusque fide
historica recte aestimanda, Cap. II.: de rebus ad Eusebii vitam
pertinentibus (pp. 33-75).

Stein: Eusebius Bischof von Caesarea. Nach seinem Leben, seinen
Schriften, und seinem dogmatischen Charakter dargestellt (Wuerzburg,
1859; full and valuable).

Bright, in the introduction to his edition of Burton’s text of the
Hist. Eccles. (excellent).

Lightfoot (Bishop of Durham): Eusebius of Caesarea, in Smith and Wace’s
Dictionary of Christian Biography, vol. II. pp. 308-348. Lightfoot’s
article is a magnificent monument of patristic scholarship and contains
the best and most exhaustive treatment of the life and writings of
Eusebius that has been written.

The student may be referred finally to all the larger histories of the
Church (e.g. Schaff, vol. III. 871 sqq. and 1034 sq.), which contain
more or less extended accounts of Eusebius.

S:2. Eusebius’ Birth and Training. His Life in Caesarea until the
Outbreak of the Persecution.

Our author was commonly known among the ancients as Eusebius of
Caesarea or Eusebius Pamphili. The former designation arose from the
fact that he was bishop of the church in Caesarea for many years; the
latter from the fact that he was the intimate friend and devoted
admirer of Pamphilus, a presbyter of Caesarea and a martyr. Some such
specific appellation was necessary to distinguish him from others of
the same name. Smith and Wace’s Dictionary of Christian Biography
mentions 137 men of the first eight centuries who bore the name
Eusebius, and of these at least forty were contemporaries of our
author. The best known among them were Eusebius of Nicomedia (called by
Arius the brother of Eusebius of Caesarea), Eusebius of Emesa, and
Eusebius of Samosata.

The exact date of our author’s birth is unknown to us, but his
Ecclesiastical History contains notices which enable us to fix it
approximately. In H. E. V. 28 he reports that Paul of Samosata
attempted to revive again in his day (kath’ hemas) the heresy of
Artemon. But Paul of Samosata was deposed from the episcopate of
Antioch in 272, and was condemned as a heretic at least as early as
268, so that Eusebius must have been born before the latter date, if
his words are to be strictly interpreted. Again, according to H. E.
III. 28, Dionysius was bishop of Alexandria in Eusebius’ time (kath’
hemas). But Dionysius was bishop from 247 or 248 to 265, and therefore
if Eusebius’ words are to be interpreted strictly here as in the former
case, he must have been born before 265. On the other hand, inasmuch as
his death occurred about 340, we cannot throw his birth much earlier
than 260. It is true that the references to Paul and to Dionysius do
not prove conclusively that Eusebius was alive in their day, for his
words may have been used in a loose sense. But in H. E. VII. 26, just
before proceeding to give an account of Paul of Samosata, he draws the
line between his own and the preceding generation, declaring that he is
now about to relate the events of his own age (ten kath’ hemas). This
still further confirms the other indications, and we shall consequently
be safe in concluding that Eusebius was born not far from the year 260
a.d. His birthplace cannot be determined with certainty. The fact that
he is called ”Eusebius the Palestinian” by Marcellus (Euseb. lib. adv.
Marcell. I. 4), Basil (Lib. ad. Amphil. de Spir. Sancto, c. 29), and
others, does not prove that he was a Palestinian by birth; for the
epithet may be used to indicate merely his place of residence (he was
bishop of Caesarea in Palestine for many years). Moreover, the argument
urged by Stein and Lightfoot in support of his Palestinian birth,
namely, that it was customary to elect to the episcopate of any church
a native of the city in preference to a native of some other place,
does not count for much. All that seems to have been demanded was that
a man should have been already a member of the particular church over
which he was to be made bishop, and even this rule was not universal
(see Bingham’s Antiquities, II. 10, 2 and 3). The fact that he was
bishop of Caesarea therefore would at most warrant us in concluding
only that he had made his residence in Caesarea for some time previous
to his election to that office. Nevertheless, although neither of these
arguments proves his Palestinian birth, it is very probable that he was
a native of that country, or at least of that section. He was
acquainted with Syriac as well as with Greek, which circumstance taken
in connection with his ignorance of Latin (see below, p. 47) points to
the region of Syria as his birthplace. Moreover, we learn from his own
testimony that he was in Caesarea while still a youth (Vita
Constantini, I. 19), and in his epistle to the church of Caesarea (see
below, p. 16) he says that he was taught the creed of the Caesarean
church in his childhood (or at least at the beginning of his Christian
life: en te katechesei), and that he accepted it at baptism. It would
seem therefore that he must have lived while still a child either in
Caesarea itself, or in the neighborhood, where its creed was in use.
Although no one therefore (except Theodorus Metochita of the fourteenth
century, in his Cap. Miscell. 17; Migne, Patr. Lat. CXLIV. 949)
directly states that Eusebius was a Palestinian by birth, we have every
reason to suppose him such.

His parents are entirely unknown. Nicephorus Callistus (H. E. VI. 37)
reports that his mother was a sister of Pamphilus. He does not mention
his authority for this statement, and it is extremely unlikely, in the
face of the silence of Eusebius himself and of all other writers, that
it is true. It is far more probable that the relationship was later
assumed to account for the close intimacy of the two men. Arius, in an
epistle addressed to Eusebius of Nicomedia (contained in Theodoret’s
Hist. Eccles. I. 5), calls Eusebius of Caesarea the latter’s brother.
It is objected to this that Eusebius of Nicomedia refers to Eusebius of
Caesarea on one occasion as his ”master” (tou despotou mou, in his
epistle to Paulinus contained in Theodoret’s Hist. Eccles. I. 6), and
that on the other hand Eusebius of Caesarea calls Eusebius of
Nicomedia, ”the great Eusebius” (Euseb. lib. adv. Marcell. I. 4), both
of which expressions seem inconsistent with brotherhood. Lightfoot
justly remarks that neither the argument itself nor the objections
carry much weight. The term adelphos may well have been used to
indicate merely theological or ecclesiastical association, while on the
other hand, brotherhood would not exclude the form of expression
employed by each in speaking of the other. Of more weight is the fact
that neither Eusebius himself nor any historian of that period refers
to such a relationship, and also the unlikelihood that two members of
one family should bear the same name.

From Eusebius’ works we gather that he must have received an extensive
education both in secular philosophy and in Biblical and theological
science. Although his immense erudition was doubtless the result of
wide and varied reading continued throughout life, it is highly
probable that he acquired the taste for such reading in his youth. Who
his early instructors were we do not know, and therefore cannot
estimate the degree of their influence over him. As he was a man,
however, who cherished deep admiration for those whom he regarded as
great and good men, and as he possessed an unusually acquisitive mind
and a pliant disposition, we should naturally suppose that his
instructors must have possessed considerable influence over him, and
that his methods of study in later years must have been largely molded
by their example and precept. We see this exemplified in a remarkable
degree in the influence exerted over him by Pamphilus, his dearest
friend, and at the same time the preceptor, as it were, of his early
manhood. Certainly this great bibliopholist must have done much to
strengthen Eusebius’ natural taste for omnivorous reading, and the
opportunities afforded by his grand library for the cultivation of such
a taste were not lost. To the influence of Pamphilus, the devoted
admirer and enthusiastic champion of Origen, was doubtless due also in
large measure the deep respect which Eusebius showed for that
illustrious Father, a respect to which we owe one of the most
delightful sections of his Church History, his long account of Origen
in the sixth book, and to which in part antiquity was indebted for the
elaborate Defense of Origen, composed by Pamphilus and himself, but
unfortunately no longer extant. Eusebius certainly owed much to the
companionship of that eager student and noble Christian hero, and he
always recognized with deep gratitude his indebtedness to him. (Compare
the account of Pamphilus given below in Bk. VII. chap. 32, S:25 sq.)
The names of his earlier instructors, who were eminently successful, at
least in fostering his thirst for knowledge, are quite unknown to us.
His abiding admiration for Plato, whom he always placed at the head of
all philosophers (see Stein, p. 6), would lead us to think that he
received at least a part of his secular training from some ardent
Platonist, while his intense interest in apologetics, which lasted
throughout his life, and which affected all his works, seems to
indicate the peculiar bent of his early Christian education. Trithemius
concluded from a passage in his History (VII. 32) that Eusebius was a
pupil of the learned Dorotheus of Antioch, and Valesius, Lightfoot and
others are apparently inclined to accept his conclusion. But, as Stroth
remarks (Eusebii Kirchengeschichte, p. xix), all that Eusebius says is
that he had heard Dorotheus expound the Scriptures in the church
(toutou metrios tas graphas epi tes ekklesias diegoumenou
katekousamen), that is, that he had heard him preach. To conclude from
this statement that he was a pupil of Dorotheus is certainly quite

Stroth’s suggestion that he probably enjoyed the instruction of
Meletius for seven years during the persecution rests upon no good
ground, for the passage which he relies upon to sustain his opinion (H.
E. VII. 32. 28) says only that Eusebius ”observed Meletius well”
(katenoesamen) during those seven years.

In Caesarea Eusebius was at one time a presbyter of the church, as we
may gather from his words in the epistle to that church already
referred to, where, in speaking of the creed, he says, ”As we believed
and taught in the presbytery and in the episcopate itself.” But the
attempt to fix the date of his ordination to that office is quite vain.
It is commonly assumed that he became presbyter while Agapius was
bishop of Caesarea, and this is not unlikely, though we possess no
proof of it (upon Agapius see below, H. E. VII. 32, note 39). In his
Vita Constantini, I. 19, Eusebius reports that he saw Constantine for
the first time in Caesarea in the train of the Emperor Diocletian. In
his Chron. Eusebius reports that Diocletian made an expedition against
Egypt, which had risen in rebellion in the year 296 a.d., and
Theophanes, in his Chron., says that Constantine accompanied him. It is
probable therefore that it was at this time that Eusebius first saw
Constantine in Caesarea, when he was either on his way to Egypt, or on
his way back (see Tillemont’s Hist. des Emp., IV. p. 34).

During these years of quiet, before the great persecution of
Diocletian, which broke out in 303 a.d., Eusebius’ life must have been
a very pleasant one. Pamphilus’ house seems to have been a sort of
rendezvous for Christian scholars, perhaps a regular divinity school;
for we learn from Eusebius’ Martyrs in Palestine (Cureton’s edition,
pp. 13 and 14) that he and a number of others, including the martyr
Apphianus, were living together in one house at the time of the
persecution, and that the latter was instructed in the Scriptures by
Pamphilus and acquired from him virtuous habits and conduct. The great
library of Pamphilus would make his house a natural center for
theological study, and the immense amount of work which was done by
him, or under his direction, in the reproduction of copies of the Holy
Scriptures, of Origen’s works (see Jerome’s de vir. ill. 75 and 81, and
contra Ruf. I. 9), and in other literary employments of the same kind,
makes it probable that he had gathered about him a large circle of
friends and students who assisted him in his labors and profited by his
counsel and instruction. Amidst these associations Eusebius passed his
early manhood, and the intellectual stimulus thus given him doubtless
had much to do with his future career. He was above all a literary man,
and remained such to the end of his life. The pleasant companionships
of these days, and the mutual interest and sympathy which must have
bound those fellow-students and fellow-disciples of Pamphilus very
close together, perhaps had much to do with that broad-minded spirit of
sympathy and tolerance which so characterized Eusebius in later years.
He was always as far as possible from the character of a recluse. He
seems ever to have been bound by very strong ties to the world itself
and to his fellow-men. Had his earlier days been filled with trials and
hardships, with the bitterness of disappointed hopes and unfulfilled
ambitions, with harsh experiences of others’ selfishness and treachery,
who shall say that the whole course of his life might not have been
changed, and his writings have exhibited an entirely different spirit
from that which is now one of their greatest charms? Certainly he had
during these early years in Caesarea large opportunities for
cultivating that natural trait of admiration for other men, which was
often so strong as to blind him even to their faults, and that natural
kindness which led him to see good wherever it existed in his Christian
brethren. At the same time these associations must have had
considerable influence in fostering the apologetic temper. The pursuits
of the little circle were apparently exclusively Christian, and in that
day when Christianity stood always on its defense, it would naturally
become to them a sacred duty to contribute to that defense and to
employ all their energies in the task. It has been remarked that the
apologetic temper is very noticeable in Eusebius’ writings. It is more
than that; we may say indeed in general terms that everything he wrote
was an apology for the faith. His History was written avowedly with an
apologetic purpose, his Chronicle was composed with the same end in
view. Even when pronouncing a eulogy upon a deceased emperor he seized
every possible opportunity to draw from that emperor’s career, and from
the circumstances of his reign, arguments for the truth and grandeur of
the Christian religion. His natural temper of mind and his early
training may have had much to do with this habit of thought, but
certainly those years with Pamphilus and his friends in Caesarea must
have emphasized and developed it.

Another characteristic which Pamphilus and the circle that surrounded
him doubtless did something to develop in our author was a certain
superiority to the trammels of mere traditionalism, or we might perhaps
better say that they in some measure checked the opposite tendency of
slavishness to the traditional which seems to have been natural to him.
Pamphilus’ deep reverence for Origen proclaims him at once superior to
that kind of narrow conservatism which led many men as learned and
doubtless as conscientious as himself to pass severe and unconditional
condemnation upon Origen and all his teaching. The effect of
championing his cause must have fostered in this little circle, which
was a very hotbed of Origenism, a contempt for the narrow and unfair
judgments of mere traditionalists, and must have led them to seek in
some degree the truth solely for its own sake, and to become in a
measure careless of its relation to the views of any school or church.
It could hardly be otherwise than that the free and fearless spirit of
Origen should leave its impress through his writings upon a circle of
followers so devoted to him as were these Caesarean students. Upon the
impressionable Eusebius these influences necessarily operated. And yet
he brought to them no keen speculative powers, no deep originality such
as Origen himself possessed. His was essentially an acquisitive, not a
productive mind, and hence it was out of the question that he should
become a second Origen. It was quite certain that Origen’s influence
over him would weaken somewhat his confidence in the traditional as
such,–a confidence which is naturally great in such minds as his,–but
at the same time would do little to lessen the real power of the past
over him. He continued to get his truth from others, from the great men
of the past with whom he had lived and upon whose thought he had
feasted. All that he believed he had drawn from them; he produced
nothing new for himself, and his creed was a traditional creed. And yet
he had at the same time imbibed from his surroundings the habit of
questioning and even criticising the past, and, in spite of his abiding
respect for it, had learned to feel that the voice of the many is not
always the voice of truth, and that the widely and anciently accepted
is sometimes to be corrected by the clearer sight of a single man.
Though he therefore depended for all he believed so completely upon the
past, his associations had helped to free him from a slavish adherence
to all that a particular school had accepted, and had made him in some
small measure an eclectic in his relations to doctrines and opinions of
earlier generations. A notable instance of this eclecticism on his part
is seen in his treatment of the Apocalypse of John. He felt the force
of an almost universal tradition in favor of its apostolic origin, and
yet in the face of that he could listen to the doubts of Dionysius, and
could be led by his example, in a case where his own dissatisfaction
with the book acted as an incentive, almost, if not quite, to reject it
and to ascribe it to another John. Instances of a similar mode of
conduct on his part are quite numerous. While he is always a staunch
apologist for Christianity, he seldom, if ever, degenerates into a mere
partisan of any particular school or sect.

One thing in fact which is particularly noticeable in Eusebius’ works
is the comparatively small amount of time and space which he devotes to
heretics. With his wide and varied learning and his extensive
acquaintance with the past, he had opportunities for successful heresy
hunting such as few possessed, and yet he never was a heresy hunter in
any sense. This is surprising when we remember what a fascination this
employment had for so many scholars of his own age, and when we realize
that his historical tastes and talents would seem to mark him out as
just the man for that kind of work. May it not be that the lofty spirit
of Origen, animating that Caesarean school, had something to do with
the happy fact that he became an apologist instead of a mere polemic,
that he chose the honorable task of writing a history of the Church
instead of anticipating Epiphanius’ Panarium?

It was not that he was not alive to the evils of heresy. He shared with
nearly all good church-men of his age an intense aversion for those
who, as he believed, had corrupted the true Gospel of Christ. Like them
he ascribed heresy to the agency of the evil one, and was no more able
than they to see any good in a man whom he looked upon as a real
heretic, or to do justice in any degree to the error which he taught.
His condemnations of heretics in his Church History are most severe.
Language is hardly strong enough to express his aversion for them. And
yet, although he is thus most thoroughly the child of his age, the
difference between him and most of his contemporaries is very apparent.
He mentions these heretics only to dismiss them with disapproval or
condemnation. He seldom, if ever, discusses and refutes their views.
His interests lie evidently in other directions; he is concerned with
higher things. A still more strongly marked difference between himself
and many churchmen of his age lies in his large liberality towards
those of his own day who differed with him in minor points of faith,
and his comparative indifference to the divergence of views between the
various parties in the Church. In all this we believe is to be seen not
simply the inherent nature of the man, but that nature as trained in
the school of Pamphilus, the disciple of Origen.

S:3. The Persecution of Diocletian.

In this delightful circle and engaged in such congenial tasks, the time
must have passed very happily for Eusebius, until, in 303, the terrible
persecution of Diocletian broke upon the Church almost like a
thunderbolt out of a clear sky. The causes of the sudden change of
policy on Diocletian’s part, and the terrible havoc wrought in the
Church, it is not my intention to discuss here (see below, Bk. VIII.
chap. 2, note 3 sq.). We are concerned with the persecution only in so
far as it bears upon the present subject. In the first year of the
persecution Procopius, the first martyr of Palestine, was put to death
at Caesarea (Eusebius’ Martyrs of Palestine, Cureton’s ed. p. 4), and
from that time on that city, which was an important Christian center,
was the scene of a tempest which raged with greater or less violence,
and with occasional cessations, for seven years. Eusebius himself was
an eyewitness of many martyrdoms there, of which he gives us an account
in his Martyrs of Palestine. The little circle which surrounded
Pamphilus did not escape. In the third year of the persecution (Mart.
of Pal. p. 12 sq.) a youth named Apphianus, or Epiphanius (the former
is given in the Greek text, the latter in the Syriac), who ”resided in
the same house with us, confirming himself in godly doctrine, and being
instructed by that perfect martyr, Pamphilus” (as Eusebius says),
committed an act of fanatical daring which caused his arrest and
martyrdom. It seems that without the knowledge of his friends,
concealing his design even from those who dwelt in the same house with
him, he laid hold of the hand of the governor, Arbanus, who was upon
the point of sacrificing, and endeavored to dissuade him from offering
to ”lifeless idols and wicked devils.” His arrest was of course the
natural consequence, and he had the glory of witnessing a good
profession and suffering a triumphant death. Although Eusebius speaks
with such admiration of his conduct, it is quite significant of the
attitude of himself, and of most of the circle of which he was one,
that Apphianus felt obliged to conceal his purpose from them. He
doubtless feared that they would not permit him to perform the rash act
which he meditated, and we may conclude from that, that the circle in
the main was governed by the precepts of good common sense, and avoided
that fanaticism which so frequently led men, as in the present case it
led Apphianus, to expose themselves needlessly, and even to court
martyrdom. It is plain enough from what we know of Eusebius’ general
character that he himself was too sensible to act in that way. It is
true that he speaks with admiration of Apphianus’ conduct, and in H. E.
VIII. 5, of the equally rash procedure of a Nicomedian Christian; but
that does not imply that he considered their course the wisest one, and
that he would not rather recommend the employment of all proper and
honorable precautions for the preservation of life. Indeed, in H. E.
IV. 15, he speaks with evident approval of the prudent course pursued
by Polycarp in preserving his life so long as he could without
violating his Christian profession, and with manifest disapproval of
the rash act of the Phrygian Quintus, who presumptuously courted
martyrdom, only to fail when the test itself came. Pamphilus also
possessed too much sound Christian sense to advocate any such
fanaticism, or to practice it himself, as is plain enough from the fact
that he was not arrested until the fifth year of the persecution. This
unhealthy temper of mind in the midst of persecution was indeed almost
universally condemned by the wisest men of the Church, and yet the
boldness and the very rashness of those who thus voluntarily and
needlessly threw their lives away excited widespread admiration and too
often a degree of commendation which served only to promote a wider
growth of the same unhealthy sentiment.

In the fifth year of the persecution Pamphilus was arrested and thrown
into prison, where he remained for two years, when he finally, in the
seventh year of the persecution, suffered martyrdom with eleven others,
some of whom were his disciples and members of his own household. (Pal.
Mart. Cureton’s ed. p. 36 sq.; H. E. App. chap. 11.) During the two
years of Pamphilus’ imprisonment Eusebius spent a great deal of time
with him, and the two together composed five books of an Apology for
Origen, to which Eusebius afterward added a sixth (see below, p. 36).
Danz (p. 37) assumes that Eusebius was imprisoned with Pamphilus, which
is not an unnatural supposition when we consider how much they must
have been together to compose the Apology as they did. There is,
however, no other evidence that he was thus imprisoned, and in the face
of Eusebius’ own silence it is safer perhaps to assume (with most
historians) that he simply visited Pamphilus in his prison. How it
happened that Pamphilus and so many of his followers were imprisoned
and martyred, while Eusebius escaped, we cannot tell. In his Martyrs of
Palestine, chap. 11, he states that Pamphilus was the only one of the
company of twelve martyrs that was a presbyter of the Caesarean church;
and from the fact that he nowhere mentions the martyrdom of others of
the presbyters, we may conclude that they all escaped. It is not
surprising, therefore, that Eusebius should have done the same.
Nevertheless, it is somewhat difficult to understand how he could come
and go so frequently without being arrested and condemned to a like
fate with the others. It is possible that he possessed friends among
the authorities whose influence procured his safety. This supposition
finds some support in the fact that he had made the acquaintance of
Constantine (the Greek in Vita Const. I. 19 has zgnomen, which implies,
as Danz remarks, that he not only saw, but that he became acquainted
with Constantine) some years before in Caesarea. He could hardly have
made his acquaintance unless he had some friend among the high
officials of the city. Influential family connections may account in
part also for the position of prominence which he later acquired at the
imperial court of Constantine. If he had friends in authority in
Caesarea during the persecution his exemption from arrest is
satisfactorily accounted for. It has been supposed by some that
Eusebius denied the faith during the terrible persecution, or that he
committed some other questionable and compromising act of concession,
and thus escaped martyrdom. In support of this is urged the fact that
in 335, at the council of Tyre, Potamo, bishop of Heraclea, in Egypt,
addressed Eusebius in the following words: ”Dost thou sit as judge, O
Eusebius; and is Athanasius, innocent as he is, judged by thee? Who can
bear such things? Pray tell me, wast thou not with me in prison during
the persecution? And I lost an eye in behalf of the truth, but thou
appearest to have received no bodily injury, neither hast thou suffered
martyrdom, but thou hast remained alive with no mutilation. How wast
thou released from prison unless thou didst promise those that put upon
us the pressure of persecution to do that which is unlawful, or didst
actually do it?” Eusebius, it seems, did not deny the charge, but
simply rose in anger and dismissed the council with the words, ”If ye
come hither and make such accusations against us, then do your accusers
speak the truth. For if ye tyrannize here, much more do ye in your own
country” (Epiphan. Haer. LXVIII. 8). It must be noticed, however, that
Potamo does not directly charge Eusebius with dishonorable conduct, he
simply conjectures that he must have acted dishonorably in order to
escape punishment; as if every one who was imprisoned with Potamo must
have suffered as he did! As Stroth suggests, it is quite possible that
his peculiarly excitable and violent temperament was one of the causes
of his own loss. He evidently in any case had no knowledge of unworthy
conduct on Eusebius’ part, nor had any one else so far as we can judge.
For in that age of bitter controversy, when men’s characters were drawn
by their opponents in the blackest lines, Eusebius must have suffered
at the hands of the Athanasian party if it had been known that he had
acted a cowardly part in the persecution. Athanasius himself refers to
this incident (Contra Arian. VIII. 1), but he only says that Eusebius
was ”accused of sacrificing,” he does not venture to affirm that he did
sacrifice; and thus it is evident that he knew nothing of such an act.
Moreover, he never calls Eusebius ”the sacrificer,” as he does
Asterius, and as he would have been sure to do had he possessed
evidence which warranted him in making the accusation (cf. Lightfoot,
p. 311). Still further, Eusebius’ subsequent election to the episcopate
of Caesarea, where his character and his conduct during the persecution
must have been well known, and his appointment in later life to the
important see of Antioch, forbid the supposition that he had ever acted
a cowardly part in time of persecution. And finally, it is
psychologically impossible that Eusebius could have written works so
full of comfort for, and sympathy with, the suffering confessors, and
could have spoken so openly and in such strong terms of condemnation of
the numerous defections that occurred during the persecution, if he was
conscious of his own guilt. It is quite possible, as remarked above,
that influential friends protected him without any act of compromise on
his part; or, supposing him to have been imprisoned with Potamo, it may
be, as Lightfoot suggests, that the close of the persecution brought
him his release as it did so many others. For it would seem natural to
refer that imprisonment to the latter part of the persecution, when in
all probability he visited Egypt, which was the home of Potamo. We must
in any case vindicate Eusebius from the unfounded charge of cowardice
and apostasy; and we ask, with Cave, ”If every accusation against any
man at any time were to be believed, who would be guiltless?”

From his History and his Martyrs in Palestine we learn that Eusebius
was for much of the time in the very thick of the fight, and was an
eyewitness of numerous martyrdoms not only in Palestine, but also in
Tyre and in Egypt.

The date of his visits to the latter places (H. E. VIII. 7, 9) cannot
be determined with exactness. They are described in connection with
what seem to be the earlier events of the persecution, and yet it is by
no means certain that chronological order has been observed in the
narratives. The mutilation of prisoners–such as Potamo suffered–seems
to have become common only in the year 308 and thereafter (see Mason’s
Persecution of Diocletian, p. 281), and hence if Eusebius was
imprisoned with Potamo during his visit to Egypt, as seems most
probable, there would be some reason for assigning that visit to the
later years of the persecution. In confirmation of this might be urged
the improbability that he would leave Caesarea while Pamphilus was
still alive, either before or after the latter’s imprisonment, and
still further his own statement in H. E. VII. 32, that he had observed
Meletius escaping the fury of the persecution for seven years in
Palestine. It is therefore likely that Eusebius did not make his
journey to Egypt, which must have occupied some time, until toward the
very end of the persecution, when it raged there with exceeding
fierceness during the brief outburst of the infamous Maximin.

S:4. Eusebius’ Accession to the Bishopric of Caesarea.

Not long after the close of the persecution, Eusebius became bishop of
Caesarea in Palestine, his own home, and held the position until his
death. The exact date of his accession cannot be ascertained, indeed we
cannot say that it did not take place even before the close of the
persecution, but that is hardly probable; in fact, we know of no
historian who places it earlier than 313. His immediate predecessor in
the episcopate was Agapius, whom he mentions in terms of praise in H.
E. VII. 32. Some writers have interpolated a bishop Agricolaus between
Agapius and Eusebius (see e.g. Tillemont, Hist. Eccles. VII. 42), on
the ground that his name appears in one of the lists of those present
at the Council of Ancyra (c. 314), as bishop of Caesarea in Palestine
(see Labbei et Cossartii Conc. I. 1475). But, as Hefele shows
(Conciliengesch. I. 220), this list is of late date and not to be
relied upon. On the other hand, as Lightfoot points out, in the
Libellus Synodicus (Conc. I. 1480), where Agricolaus is said to have
been present at the Council of Ancyra, he is called bishop of Caesarea
in Cappadocia; and this statement is confirmed by a Syriac list given
in Cowper’s Miscellanies, p. 41. Though perhaps no great reliance is to
be placed upon the correctness of any of these lists, the last two may
at any rate be set over against the first, and we may conclude that
there exists no ground for assuming that Agapius, who is the last
Caesarean bishop mentioned by Eusebius, was not the latter’s immediate
predecessor. At what time Agapius died we do not know. That he suffered
martyrdom is hardly likely, in view of Eusebius’ silence on the
subject. It would seem more likely that he outlived the persecution.
However that may be, Eusebius was already bishop at the time of the
dedication of a new and elegant Church at Tyre under the direction of
his friend Paulinus, bishop of that city. Upon this occasion he
delivered an address of considerable length, which he has inserted in
his Ecclesiastical History, Bk. X. chap. 4. He does not name himself as
its author, but the way in which he introduces it, and the very fact
that he records the whole speech without giving the name of the man who
delivered it, make its origin perfectly plain. Moreover, the last
sentence of the preceding chapter makes it evident that the speaker was
a bishop: ”Every one of the rulers (archonton) present delivered
panegyric discourses.” The date of the dedication of this church is a
matter of dispute, though it is commonly put in the year 315. It is
plain from Eusebius’ speech that it was uttered before Licinius had
begun to persecute the Christians, and also, as Goerres remarks, at a
time when Constantine and Licinius were at least outwardly at peace
with each other. In the year 314 the two emperors went to war, and
consequently, if the persecution of Licinius began soon after that
event, as it is commonly supposed to have done, the address must have
been delivered before hostilities opened; that is, at least as early as
314, and this is the year in which Goerres places it (Kritische
Untersuchungen ueber die licinianische Christenverfolgung, p. 8). But
if Goerres’ date (319 a.d.) for the commencement of the persecution be
accepted (and though he can hardly be said to have proved it, he has
urged some strong grounds in support of it), then the address may have
been delivered at almost any time between 315 and 319, for, as Goerres
himself shows, Licinius and Constantine were outwardly at peace during
the greater part of that time (ib. p. 14, sq.). There is nothing in the
speech itself which prevents this later date, nor is it intrinsically
improbable that the great basilica reached completion only in 315 or
later. In fact, it must be admitted that Eusebius may have become
bishop at any time between about 311 and 318.

The persecution of Licinius, which continued until his defeat by
Constantine, in 323, was but local, and seems never to have been very
severe. Indeed, it did not bear the character of a bloody persecution,
though a few bishops appear to have met their death on one ground or
another. Palestine and Egypt seem not to have suffered to any great
extent (see Goerres, ib. p. 32 sq.).

S:5. The Outbreak of the Arian Controversy. The Attitude of Eusebius.

About the year 318, while Alexander was bishop of Alexandria, the Arian
controversy broke out in that city, and the whole Eastern Church was
soon involved in the strife. We cannot enter here into a discussion of
Arius’ views; but in order to understand the rapidity with which the
Arian party grew, and the strong hold which it possessed from the very
start in Syria and Asia Minor, we must remember that Arius was not
himself the author of that system which we know as Arianism, but that
he learned the essentials of it from his instructor Lucian. The latter
was one of the most learned men of his age in the Oriental Church, and
founded an exegetico-theological school in Antioch, which for a number
of years stood outside of the communion of the orthodox Church in that
city, but shortly before the martyrdom of Lucian himself (which took
place in 311 or 312) made its peace with the Church, and was recognized
by it. He was held in the highest reverence by his disciples, and
exerted a great influence over them even after his death. Among them
were such men as Arius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Asterius, and others who
were afterward known as staunch Arianists. According to Harnack the
chief points in the system of Lucian and his disciples were the
creation of the Son, the denial of his co-eternity with the Father, and
his immutability acquired by persistent progress and steadfastness. His
doctrine, which differed from that of Paul of Samosata chiefly in the
fact that it was not a man but a created heavenly being who became
”Lord,” was evidently the result of a combination of the teaching of
Paul and of Origen. It will be seen that we have here, at least in
germ, all the essential elements of Arianism proper: the creation of
the Son out of nothing, and consequently the conclusion that there was
a time when he was not; the distinction of his essence from that of the
Father, but at the same time the emphasis upon the fact that he ”was
not created as the other creatures,” and is therefore to be sharply
distinguished from them. There was little for Arius to do but to
combine the elements given by Lucian in a more complete and
well-ordered system, and then to bring that system forward clearly and
publicly, and endeavor to make it the faith of the Church at large. His
christology was essentially opposed to the Alexandrian, and it was
natural that he should soon come into conflict with that church, of
which he was a presbyter (upon Lucian’s teaching and its relation to
Arianism, see Harnack’s Dogmengeschichte, II. p. 183 sq.).

Socrates (H. E. I. 5 sq.), Sozomen (H. E. I. 15) and Theodoret (H. E.
I. 2 sq.), all of whom give accounts of the rise of Arianism, differ as
to the immediate occasion of the controversy, but agree that Arius was
excommunicated by a council convened at Alexandria, and that both he
and the bishop Alexander sent letters to other churches, the latter
defending his own course, the former complaining of his harsh
treatment, and endeavoring to secure adherents to his doctrine.
Eusebius of Nicomedia at once became his firm supporter, and was one of
the leading figures on the Arian side throughout the entire
controversy. His influential position as bishop of Nicomedia, the
imperial residence, and later of Constantinople, was of great advantage
to the Arian cause, especially toward the close of Constantine’s reign.
From a letter addressed by this Eusebius to Paulinus of Tyre
(Theodoret, H. E. I. 6) we learn that Eusebius of Caesarea was quite
zealous in behalf of the Arian cause. The exact date of the letter we
do not know, but it must have been written at an early stage of the
controversy. Arius himself, in an epistle addressed to Eusebius of
Nicomedia (Theodoret, H. E. I. 5), claims Eusebius of Caesarea among
others as accepting at least one of his fundamental doctrines (”And
since Eusebius, your brother in Caesarea, and Theodotus, and Paulinus,
and Athanasius, and Gregory, and AEtius, and all the bishops of the
East say that God existed before the Son, they have been condemned,”
etc.). More than this, Sozomen (H. E. I. 15) informs us that Eusebius
of Caesarea and two other bishops, having been appealed to by Arius for
”permission for himself and his adherents, as he had already attained
the rank of presbyter, to form the people who were with them into a
church,” concurred with others ”who were assembled in Palestine,” in
granting the petition of Arius, and permitting him to assemble the
people as before; but they ”enjoined submission to Alexander, and
commanded Arius to strive incessantly to be restored to peace and
communion with him.” The addition of the last sentence is noticeable,
as showing that they did not care to support a presbyter in open and
persistent rebellion against his bishop. A fragment of a letter written
by our Eusebius to Alexander is still extant, and is preserved in the
proceedings of the Second Council of Nicaea, Act. VI. Tom. V. (Labbei
et Cossartii Conc. VII. col. 497). In this epistle Eusebius strongly
remonstrates with Alexander for having misrepresented the views of
Arius. Still further, in his epistle to Alexander of Constantinople,
Alexander of Alexandria (Theodoret, H. E. I. 4) complains of three
Syrian bishops ”who side with them [i.e. the Arians] and excite them to
plunge deeper and deeper into iniquity.” The reference here is commonly
supposed to be to Eusebius of Caesarea, and his two friends Paulinus of
Tyre and Theodotus of Laodicea, who are known to have shown favor to
Arius. It is probable, though not certain, that our Eusebius is one of
the persons meant. Finally, many of the Fathers (above all Jerome and
Photius), and in addition to them the Second Council of Nicaea,
directly accuse Eusebius of holding the Arian heresy, as may be seen by
examining the testimonies quoted below on p. 67 sq. In agreement with
these early Fathers, many modern historians have attacked Eusebius with
great severity, and have endeavored to show that the opinion that he
was an Arian is supported by his own writings. Among those who have
judged him most harshly are Baronius (ad ann. 340, c. 38 sq.), Petavius
(Dogm. Theol. de Trin. I. c. 11 sq.), Scaliger (In Elencho Trihaeresii,
c. 27, and De emendatione temporum, Bk. VI. c. 1), Mosheim
(Ecclesiastical History, Murdock’s translation, I. p. 287 sq.),
Montfaucon (Praelim. in Comment. ad Psalm. c. VI.), and Tillemont (H.
E. VII. p. 67 sq. 2d ed.).

On the other hand, as may be seen from the testimonies in Eusebius’
favor, quoted below on p. 57 sq., many of the Fathers, who were
themselves orthodox, looked upon Eusebius as likewise sound on the
subject of the Trinity. He has been defended in modern times against
the charge of Arianism by a great many prominent scholars; among others
by Valesius in his Life of Eusebius, by Bull (Def. Fid. Nic. II. 9. 20,
III. 9. 3, 11), Cave (Lives of the Fathers, II. p. 135 sq.), Fabricius
(Bibl. Graec. VI. p. 32 sq.), Dupin (Bibl. Eccles. II. p. 7 sq.), and
most fully and carefully by Lee in his prolegomena to his edition of
Eusebius’ Theophania, p. xxiv. sq. Lightfoot also defends him against
the charge of heresy, as do a great many other writers whom it is not
necessary to mention here. Confronted with such diversity of opinion,
both ancient and modern, what are we to conclude? It is useless to
endeavor, as Lee does, to clear Eusebius of all sympathy with and
leaning toward Arianism. It is impossible to explain such widespread
and continued condemnation of him by acknowledging only that there are
many expressions in his works which are in themselves perfectly
orthodox but capable of being wrested in such a way as to produce a
suspicion of possible Arianistic tendencies, for there are such
expressions in the works of multitudes of ancient writers whose
orthodoxy has never been questioned. Nor can the widespread belief that
he was an Arian be explained by admitting that he was for a time the
personal friend of Arius, but denying that he accepted, or in any way
sympathized with his views (cf. Newman’s Arians, p. 262). There are in
fact certain fragments of epistles extant, which are, to say the least,
decidedly Arianistic in their modes of expression, and these must be
reckoned with in forming an opinion of Eusebius’ views; for there is no
reason to deny, as Lee does, that they are from Eusebius’ own hand. On
the other hand, to maintain, with some of the Fathers and many of the
moderns, that Eusebius was and continued through life a genuine Arian,
will not do in the face of the facts that contemporary and later
Fathers were divided as to his orthodoxy, that he was honored highly by
the Church of subsequent centuries, except at certain periods, and was
even canonized (see Lightfoot’s article, p. 348), that he solemnly
signed the Nicene Creed, which contained an express condemnation of the
distinctive doctrines of Arius, and finally that at least in his later
works he is thoroughly orthodox in his expressions, and is explicit in
his rejection of the two main theses of the Arians,–that there was a
time when the Son of God was not, and that he was produced out of
nothing. It is impossible to enter here into a detailed discussion of
such passages in Eusebius’ works as bear upon the subject under
dispute. Lee has considered many of them at great length, and the
reader may be referred to him for further information.

A careful examination of them will, I believe, serve to convince the
candid student that there is a distinction to be drawn between those
works written before the rise of Arius, those written between that time
and the Council of Nicaea, and those written after the latter. It has
been very common to draw a distinction between those works written
before and those written after the Council, but no one, so far as I
know, has distinguished those productions of Eusebius’ pen which
appeared between 318 and 325, and which were caused by the controversy
itself, from all his other writings. And yet such a distinction seems
to furnish the key to the problem. Eusebius’ opponents have drawn their
strongest arguments from the epistles which Eusebius wrote to Alexander
and to Euphration; his defenders have drawn their arguments chiefly
from the works which he produced subsequent to the year 325; while the
exact bearing of the expressions used in his works produced before the
controversy broke out has always been a matter of sharp dispute. Lee
has abundantly shown his Contra Marcel., his De Eccl. Theol., his
Thephania (which was written after the Council of Nicaea, and not, as
Lee supposes, before it), and other later works, to be thoroughly
orthodox and to contain nothing which a trinitarian might not have
written. In his Hist. Eccl., Praeparatio Evang., Demonstratio Evang.,
and other earlier works, although we find some expressions employed
which it would not have been possible for an orthodox trinitarian to
use after the Council of Nicaea, at least without careful limitation to
guard against misapprehension, there is nothing even in these works
which requires us to believe that he accepted the doctrines of Arius’
predecessor, Lucian of Antioch; that is, there is nothing distinctly
and positively Arianistic about them, although there are occasional
expressions which might lead the reader to expect that the writer would
become an Arian if he ever learned of Arius’ doctrines. But if there is
seen to be a lack of emphasis upon the divinity of the Son, or rather a
lack of clearness in the conception of the nature of that divinity, it
must be remembered that there was at this time no especial reason for
emphasizing and defining it, but there was on the contrary very good
reason for laying particular stress upon the subordination of the Son
over against Sabellianism, which was so widely prevalent during the
third century, and which was exerting an influence even over many
orthodox theologians who did not consciously accept Sabellianistic
tenets. That Eusebius was a decided subordinationist must be plain to
every one that reads his works with care, especially his earlier ones.
It would be surprising if he had not been, for he was born at a time
when Sabellianism (monarchianism) was felt to be the greatest danger to
which orthodox christology was exposed, and he was trained under the
influence of the followers of Origen, who had made it one of his chief
aims to emphasize the subordination of the Son over against that very
monarchianism. [1] The same subordinationism may be clearly seen in the
writings of Dionysius of Alexandria and of Gregory Thaumaturgus, two of
Origen’s greatest disciples. It must not be forgotten that at the
beginning of the fourth century the problem of how to preserve the
Godhood of Christ and at the same time his subordination to the Father
(in opposition to the monarchianists) had not been solved. Eusebius in
his earlier writings shows that he holds both (he cannot be convicted
of denying Christ’s divinity), but that he is as far from a solution of
the problem, and is just as uncertain in regard to the exact relation
of Father and Son, as Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Dionysius, and
Gregory Thaumaturgus were; is just as inconsistent in his modes of
expression as they, and yet no more so (see Harnack’s Dogmengeschichte,
I. pp. 628 sq. and 634 sq., for an exposition of the opinions of these
other Fathers on the subject). Eusebius, with the same immature and
undeveloped views which were held all through the third century, wrote
those earlier works which have given rise to so much dispute between
those who accuse him of Arianism and those who defend him against the
charge. When he wrote them he was neither Arian nor Athanasian, and for
that reason passages may be found in them which if written after the
Council of Nicaea might prove him an Arian, and other passages which
might as truly prove him an Athanasian, just as in the writings of
Origen were found by both parties passages to support their views, and
in Gregory Thaumaturgus passages apparently teaching Arianism, and
others teaching its opposite, Sabellianism (see Harnack, ib. p. 646).

Let us suppose now that Eusebius, holding fast to the divinity of
Christ, and yet convinced just as firmly of his subordination to the
Father, becomes acquainted through Arius, or other like-minded
disciples of Lucian of Antioch, with a doctrine which seems to preserve
the Godhood, while at the same time emphasizing strongly the
subordination of the Son, and which formulates the relation of Father
and Son in a clear and rational manner. That he should accept such a
doctrine eagerly is just what we should expect, and just what we find
him doing. In his epistles to Alexander and Euphration, he shows
himself an Arian, and Arius and his followers were quite right in
claiming him as a supporter. There is that in the epistles which is to
be found nowhere in his previous writings, and which distinctly
separates him from the orthodox party. How then are we to explain the
fact that a few years later he signed the Nicene creed and
anathematized the doctrines of Arius? Before we can understand his
conduct, it is necessary to examine carefully the two epistles in
question. Such an examination will show us that what Eusebius is
defending in them is not genuine Arianism. He evidently thinks that it
is, evidently supposes that he and Arius are in complete agreement upon
the subjects under discussion; but he is mistaken. The extant fragments
of the two epistles are given below on p. 70. It will be seen that
Eusebius in them defends the Arian doctrine that there was a time when
the Son of God was not. It will be seen also that he finds fault with
Alexander for representing the Arians as teaching that the ”Son of God
was made out of nothing, like all creatures,” and contends that Arius
teaches that the Son of God was begotten, and that he was not produced
like all creatures. We know that the Arians very commonly applied the
word ”begotten” to Christ, using it in such cases as synonymous with
”created,” and thus not implying, as the Athanasians did when they used
the word, that he was of one substance with the Father (compare, for
instance, the explanation of the meaning of the term given by Eusebius
of Nicomedia in his epistle to Paulinus; Theod. H. E. I. 6). It is
evident that the use of this word had deceived our Eusebius, and that
he was led by it to think that they taught that the Son was of the
Father in a peculiar sense, and did in reality partake in some way of
essential Godhood. And indeed it is not at all surprising that the
words of Arius, in his epistle to Alexander of Alexandria (see Athan.
Ep. de conc. Arim. et Seleuc., chap. II. S:3; Oxford edition of
Athanasius’ Tracts against Arianism, p. 97), quoted by Eusebius in his
epistle to the same Alexander, should give Eusebius that impression.
The words are as follows: ”The God of the law, and of the prophets, and
of the New Testament before eternal ages begat an only-begotten Son,
through whom also He made the ages and the universe. And He begat him
not in appearance, but in truth, and subjected him to his own will,
unchangeable and immutable, a perfect creature of God, but not as one
of the creatures.” Arius’ use here of the word ”begat,” and his
qualification of the word ”creature” by the adjective ”perfect,” and by
the statement that he was ”not as one of the creatures” naturally
tended to make Eusebius think that Arius acknowledged a real divinity
of the Son, and that appeared to him to be all that was necessary.
Meanwhile Alexander in his epistle to Alexander of Constantinople
(Theod. H. E. I. 4) had, as Eusebius says, misstated Arius’ opinion, or
at least had attributed to him the belief that Christ was ”made like
all other men that have ever been born,” whereas Arius expressly
disclaims such a belief. Alexander undoubtedly thought that that was
the legitimate result to which the other views of Arius must lead; but
Eusebius did not think so, and felt himself called upon to remonstrate
with Alexander for what seemed to him the latter’s unfairness in the

When we examine the Caesarean creed [2] which Eusebius presented to the
Council as a fair statement of his belief, we find nothing in it
inconsistent with the acceptance of the kind of Arianism which he
defends in his epistle to Alexander, and which he evidently supposed to
be practically the Arianism of Arius himself. In his epistle to
Euphration, however, Eusebius seems at first glance to go further and
to give up the real divinity of the Son. His words are, ”Since the Son
is himself God, but not true God.” But we have no right to interpret
these words, torn as they are from the context which might make their
meaning perfectly plain, without due regard to Eusebius’ belief
expressed elsewhere in this epistle, and in his epistle to Alexander
which was evidently written about the same time. In the epistle to
Alexander he clearly reveals a belief in the real divinity of the Son,
while in the other fragment of his epistle to Euphration he dwells upon
the subordination of the Son and approves the Arian opinion, which he
had defended also in the other epistle, that the ”Father was before the
Son.” The expression, ”not true God” (a very common Arian expression;
see Athan. Orat. c. Arian. I. 6) seems therefore to have been used by
Eusebius to express a belief, not that the Son did not possess real
divinity (as the genuine Arians used it), but that he was not equal to
the Father, who, to Eusebius’ thought, was ”true God.” He indeed
expressly calls the Son theos, which shows–when the sense in which he
elsewhere uses the word is considered–that he certainly did believe
him to partake of Godhood, though, in some mysterious way, in a smaller
degree, or in a less complete manner than the Father. That Eusebius
misunderstood Arius, and did not perceive that he actually denied all
real deity to the Son, was due doubtless in part to his lack of
theological insight (Eusebius was never a great theologian), in part to
his habitual dread of Sabellianism (of which Arius had accused
Alexander, and toward which Eusebius evidently thought that the latter
was tending), which led him to look with great favor upon the
pronounced subordinationism of Arius, and thus to overlook the
dangerous extreme to which Arius carried that subordinationism.

We are now, the writer hopes, prepared to admit that Eusebius, after
the breaking out of the Arian controversy, became an Arian, as he
understood Arianism, and supported that party with considerable vigor;
and that not as a result of mere personal friendship, but of
theological conviction. At the same time, he was then, as always, a
peace-loving man, and while lending Arius his approval and support, he
united with other Palestinian bishops in enjoining upon him submission
to his bishop (Sozomen, H. E. I. 15). As an Arian, then, and yet
possessed with the desire of securing, if it were possible, peace and
harmony between the two factions, Eusebius appeared at the Council of
Nicaea, and there signed a creed containing Athanasian doctrine and
anathematizing the chief tenets of Arius. How are we to explain his
conduct? We shall, perhaps, do best to let him explain his own conduct.
In his letter to the church of Caesarea (preserved by Socrates, H. E.
I. 8, as well as by other authors), he writes as follows:–

”What was transacted concerning ecclesiastical faith at the Great
Council assembled at Nicaea you have probably learned, Beloved, from
other sources, rumour being wont to precede the accurate account of
what is doing. But lest in such reports the circumstances of the case
have been misrepresented, we have been obliged to transmit to you,
first, the formula of faith presented by ourselves; and next, the
second, which the Fathers put forth with some additions to our words.
Our own paper, then, which was read in the presence of our most pious
Emperor, and declared to be good and unexceptionable, ran thus:–

”`As we have received from the Bishops who preceded us, and in our
first catechisings, and when we received the Holy Laver, and as we have
learned from the divine Scriptures, and as we believed and taught in
the presbytery, and in the Episcopate itself, so believing also at the
time present, we report to you our faith, and it is this:–

”`We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of all things
visible and invisible. And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God,
God from God, Light from Light, Life from Life, Son Only-begotten,
first-born of every creature, before all the ages, begotten from the
Father, by whom also all things were made; who for our salvation was
made flesh, and lived among men, and suffered, and rose again the third
day, and ascended to the Father, and will come again in glory to judge
quick and dead. And we believe also in One Holy Ghost; believing each
of These to be and to exist, the Father truly Father, and the Son truly
Son, and the Holy Ghost truly Holy Ghost, as also our Lord, sending
forth His disciples for the preaching, said, Go, teach all nations,
baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost. Concerning whom we confidently affirm that so we hold, and
so we think, and so we have held aforetime, and we maintain this faith
unto the death, anathematizing every godless heresy. That this we have
ever thought from our heart and soul, from the time we recollect
ourselves, and now think and say in truth, before God Almighty and our
Lord Jesus Christ do we witness, being able by proofs to show and to
convince you, that, even in times past, such has been our belief and

”On this faith being publicly put forth by us, no room for
contradiction appeared; but our most pious Emperor, before any one
else, testified that it comprised most orthodox statements. He
confessed, moreover, that such were his own sentiments; and he advised
all present to agree to it, and to subscribe its articles and to assent
to them, with the insertion of the single word, `One in substance’
(homoousios), which, moreover, he interpreted as not in the sense of
the affections of bodies, nor as if the Son subsisted from the Father,
in the way of division, or any severance; for that the immaterial and
intellectual and incorporeal nature could not be the subject of any
corporeal affection, but that it became us to conceive of such things
in a divine and ineffable manner. And such were the theological remarks
of our most wise and most religious Emperor; but they, with a view to
the addition of `One in substance,’ drew up the following formula:–

”`We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things
visible and invisible:– And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
begotten of the Father, Only-begotten, that is, from the Substance of
the Father; God from God, Light from Light, very God from very God,
begotten, not made, One in substance with the Father, by whom all
things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth; who for us
men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, was made man,
suffered, and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and
cometh to judge quick and dead.

”`And in the Holy Ghost. But those who say, ”Once He was not,” and
”Before His generation He was not,” and ”He came to be from nothing,”
or those who pretend that the Son of God is ”Of other subsistence or
substance,” or ”created,” or ”alterable,” or ”mutable,” the Catholic
Church anathematizes.’

”On their dictating this formula, we did not let it pass without
inquiry in what sense they introduced `of the substance of the Father,’
and `one in substance with the Father.’ Accordingly questions and
explanations took place, and the meaning of the words underwent the
scrutiny of reason. And they professed that the phrase `of the
substance’ was indicative of the Son’s being indeed from the Father,
yet without being as if a part of Him. And with this understanding we
thought good to assent to the sense of such religious doctrine,
teaching, as it did, that the Son was from the Father, not, however, a
part of His substance. On this account we assented to the sense
ourselves, without declining even the term `One in substance,’ peace
being the object which we set before us, and steadfastness in the
orthodox view. In the same way we also admitted `begotten, not made’;
since the Council alleged that `made’ was an appellative common to the
other creatures which came to be through the Son, to whom the Son had
no likeness. Wherefore, said they, He was not a work resembling the
things which through Him came to be, but was of a substance which is
too high for the level of any work, and which the Divine oracles teach
to have been generated from the Father, the mode of generation being
inscrutable and incalculable to every generated nature. And so, too, on
examination there are grounds for saying that the Son is `one in
substance’ with the Father; not in the way of bodies, nor like mortal
beings, for He is not such by division of substance, or by severance;
no, nor by any affection, or alteration, or changing of the Father’s
substance and power (since from all such the ingenerate nature of the
Father is alien), but because `one in substance with the Father’
suggests that the Son of God bears no resemblance to the generated
creatures, but that to His Father alone who begat Him is He in every
way assimilated, and that He is not of any other subsistence and
substance, but from the Father.

”To which term also, thus interpreted, it appeared well to assent;
since we were aware that, even among the ancients, some learned and
illustrious Bishops and writers have used the term `one in substance’
in their theological teaching concerning the Father and Son. So much,
then, be said concerning the faith which was published; to which all of
us assented, not without inquiry, but according to the specified
senses, mentioned before the most religious Emperor himself, and
justified by the fore-mentioned considerations. And as to the
anathematism published by them at the end of the Faith, it did not pain
us, because it forbade to use words not in Scripture, from which almost
all the confusion and disorder of the Church have come. Since, then, no
divinely inspired Scripture has used the phrases, `out of nothing’ and
`once He was not,’ and the rest which follow, there appeared no ground
for using or teaching them; to which also we assented as a good
decision, since it had not been our custom hitherto to use these terms.
Moreover, to anathematize `Before His generation He was not’ did not
seem preposterous, in that it is confessed by all that the Son of God
was before the generation according to the flesh. Nay, our most
religious Emperor did at the time prove, in a speech, that He was in
being even according to His divine generation which is before all ages,
since even before he was generated in energy, He was in virtue with the
Father ingenerately, the Father being always Father, as King always and
Saviour always, having all things in virtue, and being always in the
same respects and in the same way. This we have been forced to transmit
to you, Beloved, as making clear to you the deliberation of our inquiry
and assent, and how reasonably we resisted even to the last minute, as
long as we were offended at statements which differed from our own, but
received without contention what no longer pained us, as soon as, on a
candid examination of the sense of the words, they appeared to us to
coincide with what we ourselves have professed in the faith which we
have already published.” [3]

It will be seen that while the expressions ”of the substance of the
Father,” ”begotten not made,” and ”One in substance,” or
”consubstantial with the Father,” are all explicitly anti-Arianistic,
yet none of them contradicts the doctrines held by Eusebius before the
Council, so far as we can learn them from his epistles to Alexander and
Euphration and from the Caesarean creed. His own explanation of those
expressions, which it is to be observed was the explanation given by
the Council itself, and which therefore he was fully warranted in
accepting,–even though it may not have been so rigid as to satisfy an
Athanasius,–shows us how this is. He had believed before that the Son
partook of the Godhood in very truth, that He was ”begotten,” and
therefore ”not made,” if ”made” implied something different from
”begotten,” as the Nicene Fathers held that it did; and he had believed
before that the ”Son of God has no resemblance to created’ things, but
is in every respect like the Father only who begat him, and that He is
of no other substance or essence than the Father,” and therefore if
that was what the word ”Consubstantial” (homoousios) meant he could not
do otherwise than accept that too.

It is clear that the dread of Sabellianism was still before the eyes of
Eusebius, and was the cause of his hesitation in assenting to the
various changes, especially to the use of the word homoousios, which
had been a Sabellian word and had been rejected on that account by the
Synod of Antioch, at which Paul of Samosata had been condemned some
sixty years before.

It still remains to explain Eusebius’ sanction of the anathemas
attached to the creed which expressly condemn at least one of the
beliefs which he had himself formerly held, viz.: that the ”Father was
before the Son,” or as he puts it elsewhere, that ”He who is begat him
who was not.” The knot might of course be simply cut by supposing an
act of hypocrisy on his part, but the writer is convinced that such a
conclusion does violence to all that we know of Eusebius and of his
subsequent treatment of the questions involved in this discussion. It
is quite possible to suppose that a real change of opinion on his part
took place during the sessions of the Council. Indeed when we realize
how imperfect and incorrect a conception of Arianism he had before the
Council began, and how clearly its true bearing was there brought out
by its enemies, we can see that he could not do otherwise than change;
that he must have become either an out-and-out Arian, or an opponent of
Arianism as he did. When he learned, and learned for the first time,
that Arianism meant the denial of all essential divinity to Christ, and
when he saw that it involved the ascription of mutability and of other
finite attributes to him, he must either change entirely his views on
those points or he must leave the Arian party. To him who with all his
subordinationism had laid in all his writings so much stress on the
divinity of the Word (even though he had not realized exactly what that
divinity involved) it would have been a revolution in his Christian
life and faith to have admitted what he now learned that Arianism
involved. Sabellianism had been his dread, but now this new fear, which
had aroused so large a portion of the Church, seized him too, and he
felt that stand must be made against this too great separation of
Father and Son, which was leading to dangerous results. Under the
pressure of this fear it is not surprising that he should become
convinced that the Arian formula–”there was a time when the Son was
not”–involved serious consequences, and that Alexander and his
followers should have succeeded in pointing out to him its untruth,
because it led necessarily to a false conclusion. It is not surprising,
moreover, that they should have succeeded in explaining to him at least
partially their belief, which, as his epistle to Alexander shows, had
before been absolutely incomprehensible, that the Son was generated
from all eternity, and that therefore the Father did not exist before
him in a temporal sense.

He says toward the close of his epistle to the Caesarean church that he
had not been accustomed to use such expressions as ”There was a time
when he was not,” ”He came to be from nothing,” etc. And there is no
reason to doubt that he speaks the truth. Even in his epistles to
Alexander and Euphration he does not use those phrases (though he does
defend the doctrine taught by the first of them), nor does Arius
himself, in the epistle to Alexander upon which Eusebius apparently
based his knowledge of the system, use those expressions, although he
too teaches the same doctrine. The fact is that in that epistle Arius
studiously avoids such favorite Arian phrases as might emphasize the
differences between himself and Alexander, and Eusebius seems to have
avoided them for the same reason. We conclude then that Eusebius was
not an Arian (nor an adherent of Lucian) before 318, that soon after
that date he became an Arian in the sense in which he understood
Arianism, but that during the Council of Nicaea he ceased to be one in
any sense. His writings in later years confirm the course of doctrinal
development which we have supposed went on in his mind. He never again
defends Arian doctrines in his works, and yet he never becomes an
Athanasian in his emphasis upon the homoousion. In fact he represents a
mild orthodoxy, which is always orthodox–when measured by the Nicene
creed as interpreted by the Nicene Council–and yet is always mild.
Moreover, he never acquired an affection for the word homoousios, which
to his mind was bound up with too many evil associations ever to have a
pleasant sound to him. He therefore studiously avoided it in his own
writings, although clearly showing that he believed fully in what the
Nicene Council had explained it to mean. It must be remembered that
during many years of his later life he was engaged in controversy with
Marcellus, a thorough-going Sabellian, who had been at the time of the
Council one of the strongest of Athanasius’ colleagues. In his contest
with him it was again anti-Sabellianistic polemics which absorbed him
and increased his distaste for homoousion and minimized his emphasis
upon the distinctively anti-Arianistic doctrines formulated at Nicaea.
For any except the very wisest minds it was a matter of enormous
difficulty to steer between the two extremes in those times of strife;
and while combating Sabellianism not to fall into Arianism, and while
combating the latter not to be engulfed in the former. That Eusebius
under the constant pressure of the one fell into the other at one time,
and was in occasional danger of falling into it again in later years,
can hardly be cited as an evidence either of wrong heart or of weak
head. An Athanasius he was not, but neither was he an unsteady
weather-cock, or an hypocritical time-server.

[1] It is interesting to notice that the creed of the Caesarean church
which Eusebius presented at the Council of Nice contains a clause which
certainly looks as if it had been composed in opposition to the
familiar formula of the Sabellians: ”The same one is the Father, the
same one the Son, the same one the Holy Spirit” (ton auton einai
patera, ton auton einai hui& 232;n, ton auton einai hagion pneuma; see
Epiphan. Haer. LXII. 1; and compare the statement made in the same
section, that the Sabellians taught that God acts in three forms: in
the form of the Father, as creator and lawgiver; in the form of the
Son, as redeemer; and in the form of the Spirit, as life-giver, etc.).
The clause of the Caesarean creed referred to runs as follows: ”That
the Father is truly Father, the Son truly Son, and the Holy Spirit
truly Holy Spirit” (patera alethos patera, kai hui& 232;n alethos hui&
232;n, kai pneuma hagion alethos hagion). It is significant that in the
revised creed adopted by the Council these words are omitted, evidently
because the occasion for them no longer existed, since not Sabellianism
but Arianism was the heresy combated; and because, more than that, the
use of them would but weaken the emphasis which the Council wished to
put upon the essential divinity of all three persons.

[2] For a translation of the creed see below, p. 16, where it is given
as a part of Eusebius’ epistle to the Church of Caesarea.

[3] The translation is that of Newman, as given in the Oxford edition
of Athanasius’ Select Treatises against Arianism, p. 59 sq.

S:6. The Council of Nicaea.

At the Council of Nicaea, which met pursuant to an imperial summons in
the year 325 A.D., Eusebius played a very prominent part. A description
of the opening scenes of the Council is given in his Vita Constantini,
III. 10 sq. After the Emperor had entered in pomp and had taken his
seat, a bishop who sat next to him upon his right arose and delivered
in his honor the opening oration, to which the Emperor replied in a
brief Latin address. There can be no doubt that this bishop was our
Eusebius. Sozomen (H. E. I. 19) states it directly; and Eusebius,
although he does not name the speaker, yet refers to him, as he had
referred to the orator at the dedication of Paulinus’ church at Tyre,
in such a way as to make it clear that it was himself; and moreover in
his Vita Constantini, I. 1, he mentions the fact that he had in the
midst of an assembly of the servants of God addressed an oration to the
Emperor on the occasion of the latter’s vicennalia, i.e. in 325 a.d. On
the other hand, however, Theodoret (H. E. I. 7) states that this
opening oration was delivered by Eustathius, bishop of Antioch; while
Theodore of Mopsuestia and Philostorgius (according to Nicetas
Choniates, Thes. de orthod. fid. V. 7) assign it to Alexander of
Alexandria. As Lightfoot suggests, it is possible to explain the
discrepancy in the reports by supposing that Eustathius and Alexander,
the two great patriarchs, first addressed a few words to the Emperor
and that then Eusebius delivered the regular oration. This supposition
is not at all unlikely, for it would be quite proper for the two
highest ecclesiastics present to welcome the Emperor formally in behalf
of the assembled prelates, before the regular oration was delivered by
Eusebius. At the same time, the supposition that one or the other of
the two great patriarchs must have delivered the opening address was
such a natural one that it may have been adopted by Theodoret and the
other writers referred to without any historical basis. It is in any
case certain that the regular oration was delivered by Eusebius himself
(see the convincing arguments adduced by Stroth, p. xxvii. sq.). This
oration is no longer extant, but an idea of its character may be formed
from the address delivered by Eusebius at the Emperor’s tricennalia
(which is still extant under the title De laudibus Constantini; see
below, p. 43) and from the general tone of his Life of Constantine. It
was avowedly a panegyric, and undoubtedly as fulsome as it was possible
to make it, and his powers in that direction were by no means slight.

That Eusebius, instead of the bishop of some more prominent church,
should have been selected to deliver the opening address, may have been
in part owing to his recognized standing as the most learned man and
the most famous writer in the Church, in part to the fact that he was
not as pronounced a partisan as some of his distinguished brethren; for
instance, Alexander of Alexandria, and Eusebius of Nicomedia; and
finally in some measure to his intimate relations with the Emperor. How
and when his intimacy with the latter grew up we do not know. As
already remarked, he seems to have become personally acquainted with
him many years before, when Constantine passed through Caesarea in the
train of Diocletian, and it may be that a mutual friendship, which was
so marked in later years, began at that time. However that may be,
Eusebius seems to have possessed special advantages of one kind or
another, enabling him to come into personal contact with official
circles, and once introduced to imperial notice, his wide learning,
sound common sense, genial temper and broad charity would insure him
the friendship of the Emperor himself, or of any other worthy officer
of state. We have no record of an intimacy between Constantine and
Eusebius before the Council of Nicaea, but many clear intimations of it
after that time. In fact, it is evident that during the last decade at
least of the Emperor’s life, few, if any, bishops stood higher in his
esteem or enjoyed a larger measure of his confidence. Compare for
instance the records of their conversations (contained in the Vita
Constantini, I. 28 and II. 9), of their correspondence (ib. II. 46,
III. 61, IV. 35 and 36), and the words of Constantine himself (ib. III.
60). The marked attention paid by him to the speeches delivered by
Eusebius in his presence (ib. IV. 33 and 46) is also to be noticed.
Eusebius’ intimacy with the imperial family is shown likewise in the
tone of the letter which he wrote to Constantia, the sister of
Constantine and wife of Licinius, in regard to a likeness of Christ
which she had asked him to send her. The frankness and freedom with
which he remonstrates with her for what he considers mistaken zeal on
her part, reveal a degree of familiarity which could have come only
from long and cordial relations between himself and his royal
correspondent. Whatever other reasons therefore may have combined to
indicate Eusebius as the most fitting person to deliver the oration in
honor of the Emperor at the Council of Nicaea, there can be little
doubt that Constantine’s personal friendship for him had much to do
with his selection. The action of the Council on the subject of
Arianism, and Eusebius’ conduct in the matter, have already been
discussed. Of the bishops assembled at the Council, not far from three
hundred in number (the reports of eye-witnesses vary from two hundred
and fifty to three hundred and eighteen), all but two signed the Nicene
creed as adopted by the Council. These two, both of them Egyptians,
were banished with Arius to Illyria, while Eusebius of Nicomedia, and
Theognis of Nicaea, who subscribed the creed itself but refused to
assent to its anathemas, were also banished for a time, but soon
yielded, and were restored to their churches.

Into the other purposes for which the Nicene Council was called,–the
settlement of the dispute respecting the time of observing Easter and
the healing of the Meletian schism,–it is not necessary to enter here.
We have no record of the part which Eusebius took in these
transactions. Lightfoot has abundantly shown (p. 313 sq.) that the
common supposition that Eusebius was the author of the paschal cycle of
nineteen years is false, and that there is no reason to suppose that he
had anything particular to do with the decision of the paschal question
at this Council.

S:7. Continuance of the Arian Controversy. Eusebius’ Relations to the
Two Parties.

The Council of Nicaea did not bring the Arian controversy to an end.
The orthodox party was victorious, it is true, but the Arians were
still determined, and could not give up their enmity against the
opponents of Arius, and their hope that they might in the end turn the
tables on their antagonists. Meanwhile, within a few years after the
Council, a quarrel broke out between our Eusebius and Eustathius,
bishop of Antioch, a resolute supporter of Nicene orthodoxy. According
to Socrates (H. E. I. 23) and Sozomen (H. E. II. 18) Eustathius accused
Eusebius of perverting the Nicene doctrines, while Eusebius denied the
charge, and in turn taxed Eustathius with Sabellianism. The quarrel
finally became so serious that it was deemed necessary to summon a
Council for the investigation of Eustathius’ orthodoxy and the
settlement of the dispute. This Council met in Antioch in 330 a.d. (see
Tillemont, VII. p. 651 sq., for a discussion of the date), and was made
up chiefly of bishops of Arian or semi-Arian tendencies. This fact,
however, brings no discredit upon Eusebius. The Council was held in
another province, and he can have had nothing to do with its
composition. In fact, convened, as it was, in Eustathius’ own city, it
must have been legally organized; and indeed Eustathius himself
acknowledged its jurisdiction by appearing before it to answer the
charges made against him. Theodoret’s absurd account of the origin of
the synod and of the accusations brought against Eustathius (H. E. I.
21) bears upon its face the stamp of falsehood, and is, as Hefele has
shown (Conciliengeschichte, I. 451), hopelessly in error in its
chronology. It is therefore to be rejected as quite worthless. The
decision of the Council doubtless fairly represented the views of the
majority of the bishops of that section, for we know that Arianism had
a very strong hold there. To think of a packed Council and of illegal
methods of procedure in procuring the verdict against Eustathius is
both unnecessary and unwarrantable. The result of the Council was the
deposition of Eustathius from his bishopric and his banishment by the
Emperor to Illyria, where he afterward died. There is a division of
opinion among our sources in regard to the immediate successor of
Eustathius. All of them agree that Eusebius was asked to become bishop
of Antioch, but that he refused the honor, and that Euphronius was
chosen in his stead. Socrates and Sozomen, however, inform us that the
election of Eusebius took place immediately after the deposition of
Eustathius, while Theodoret (H. E. I. 22) names Eulalius as Eustathius’
immediate successor, and states that he lived but a short time, and
that Eusebius was then asked to succeed him. Theodoret is supported by
Jerome (Chron., year of Abr. 2345) and by Philostorgius (H. E. III.
15), both of whom insert a bishop Eulalius between Eustathius and
Euphronius. It is easier to suppose that Socrates and Sozomen may have
omitted so unimportant a name at this point than that the other three
witnesses inserted it without warrant. Socrates indeed implies in the
same chapter that his knowledge of these affairs is limited, and it is
not surprising that Eusebius’ election, which caused a great stir,
should have been connected in the mind of later writers immediately
with Eustathius’ deposition, and the intermediate steps forgotten. It
seems probable, therefore, that immediately after the condemnation of
Eustathius, Eulalius was appointed in his place, perhaps by the same
Council, and that after his death, a few months later, Eusebius, who
had meanwhile gone back to Caesarea, was elected in due order by
another Council of neighboring bishops summoned for the purpose, and
that he was supported by a large party of citizens. It is noticeable
that the letter written by the Emperor to the Council, which wished to
transfer Eusebius to Antioch (see Vita Const. III. 62), mentions in its
salutation the names of five bishops, but among them is only one
(Theodotus) who is elsewhere named as present at the Council which
deposed Eustathius, while Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Theognis of
Nicaea, as well as others whom we know to have been on hand on that
occasion, are not referred to by the Emperor. This fact certainly seems
to point to a different council.

It is greatly to Eusebius’ credit that he refused the call extended to
him. Had he been governed simply by selfish ambition he would certainly
have accepted it, for the patriarchate of Antioch stood at that time
next to Alexandria in point of honor in the Eastern Church. The Emperor
commended him very highly for his decision, in his epistles to the
people of Antioch and to the Council (Vita Const. III. 60, 62), and in
that to Eusebius himself (ib. III. 61). He saw in it a desire on
Eusebius’ part to observe the ancient canon of the Church, which
forbade the transfer of a bishop from one see to another. But that in
itself can hardly have been sufficient to deter the latter from
accepting the high honor offered him, for it was broken without scruple
on all sides. It is more probable that he saw that the schism of the
Antiochenes would be embittered by the induction into the bishopric of
that church of Eustathius’ chief opponent, and that he did not feel
that he had a right so to divide the Church of God. Eusebius’ general
character, as known to us, justifies us in supposing that this high
motive had much to do with his decision. We may suppose also that so
difficult a place can have had no very great attractions for a man of
his age and of his peace-loving disposition and scholarly tastes. In
Caesarea he had spent his life; there he had the great library of
Pamphilus at his disposal, and leisure to pursue his literary work. In
Antioch he would have found himself compelled to plunge into the midst
of quarrels and seditions of all kinds, and would have been obliged to
devote his entire attention to the performance of his official duties.
His own tastes therefore must have conspired with his sense of duty to
lead him to reject the proffered call and to remain in the somewhat
humbler station which he already occupied.

Not long after the deposition of Eustathius, the Arians and their
sympathizers began to work more energetically to accomplish the ruin of
Athanasius, their greatest foe. He had become Alexander’s successor as
bishop of Alexandria in the year 326, and was the acknowledged head of
the orthodox party. If he could be brought into discredit, there might
be hopes of restoring Arius to his position in Alexandria, and of
securing for Arianism a recognition, and finally a dominating influence
in the church at large. To the overthrow of Athanasius therefore all
good Arians bent their energies. They found ready accomplices in the
schismatical Meletians of Egypt, who were bitter enemies of the
orthodox church of Alexandria. It was useless to accuse Athanasius of
heterodoxy; he was too widely known as the pillar of the orthodox
faith. Charges must be framed of another sort, and of a sort to stir up
the anger of the Emperor against him. The Arians therefore and the
Meletians began to spread the most vile and at the same time absurd
stories about Athanasius (see especially the latter’s Apol. c. Arian.
S:59 sq.). These at last became so notorious that the Emperor summoned
Athanasius to appear and make his defense before a council of bishops
to be held in Caesarea (Sozomen, H. E. II. 25; Theodoret, H. E. I. 28).
Athanasius, however, fearing that the Council would be composed wholly
of his enemies, and that it would therefore be impossible to secure
fair play, excused himself and remained away. But in the following year
(see Sozomen, H. E. II. 25) he received from the Emperor a summons to
appear before a council at Tyre. The summons was too peremptory to
admit of a refusal, and Athanasius therefore attended, accompanied by
many of his devoted adherents (see Sozomen, ib.; Theodoret, H. E. I.
30; Socrates, H. E. I. 28; Athanasius, Apol. c. Arian. S:71 sq.;
Eusebius, Vita Const. IV. 41 sq., and Epiphanius, Haer. LXVIII. 8).
After a time, perceiving that he had no chance of receiving fair play,
he suddenly withdrew from the Council and proceeded directly to
Constantinople, in order to lay his case before the Emperor himself,
and to induce the latter to allow him to meet his accusers in his
presence, and plead his cause before him. There was nothing for the
Synod to do after his flight but to sustain the charges brought against
him, some of which he had not stayed to refute, and to pass
condemnation upon him. Besides various immoral and sacrilegious deeds
of which he was accused, his refusal to appear before the Council of
Caesarea the previous year was made an important item of the
prosecution. It was during this Council that Potamo flung at Eusebius
the taunt of cowardice, to which reference was made above, and which
doubtless did much to confirm Eusebius’ distrust of and hostility to
the Athanasian party. Whether Eusebius of Caesarea, as is commonly
supposed, or Eusebius of Nicomedia, or some other bishop, presided at
this Council we are not able to determine. The account of Epiphanius
seems to imply that the former was presiding at the time that Potamo
made his untimely accusation. Our sources are, most of them, silent on
the matter, but according to Valesius, Eusebius of Nicomedia is named
by some of them, but which they are I have not been able to discover.
We learn from Socrates (H. E. I. 28), as well as from other sources,
that this Synod of Tyre was held in the thirtieth year of Constantine’s
reign, that is, between July, 334, and July, 335. As the Council was
closed only in time for the bishops to reach Jerusalem by July, 335, it
is probable that it was convened in 335 rather than in 334. From
Sozomen (H. E. II. 25) we learn also that the Synod of Caesarea had
been held the preceding year, therefore in 333 or 334 (the latter being
the date commonly given by historians). While the Council of Tyre was
still in session, the bishops were commanded by Constantine to proceed
immediately to Jerusalem to take part in the approaching festival to be
held there on the occasion of his tricennalia. The scene was one of
great splendor. Bishops were present from all parts of the world, and
the occasion was marked by the dedication of the new and magnificent
basilica which Constantine had erected upon the site of Calvary
(Theodoret, I. 31; Socrates, I. 28 and 33; Sozomen, II. 26; Eusebius,
Vita Const. IV. 41 and 43). The bishops gathered in Jerusalem at this
time held another synod before separating. In this they completed the
work begun at Tyre, by re-admitting Arius and his adherents to the
communion of the Church (see Socrates, I. 33, and Sozomen, II. 27).
According to Sozomen the Emperor, having been induced to recall Arius
from banishment in order to reconsider his case, was presented by the
latter with a confession of faith, which was so worded as to convince
Constantine of his orthodoxy. He therefore sent Arius and his companion
Euzoius to the bishops assembled in Jerusalem with the request that
they would examine the confession, and if they were satisfied with its
orthodoxy would re-admit them to communion. The Council, which was
composed largely of Arius’ friends and sympathizers, was only too glad
to accede to the Emperor’s request.

Meanwhile Athanasius had induced Constantine, out of a sense of
justice, to summon the bishops that had condemned him at Tyre to give
an account of their proceedings before the Emperor himself at
Constantinople. This unexpected, and, doubtless, not altogether welcome
summons came while the bishops were at Jerusalem, and the majority of
them at once returned home in alarm, while only a few answered the call
and repaired to Constantinople. Among these were Eusebius of Nicomedia,
Theognis of Nicaea, Patrophilus of Scythopolis, and other prominent
Arians, and with them our Eusebius (Athanasius, Apol. c. Arian. S:S:86
and 87; Socrates, I. 33-35; Sozomen, II. 28). The accusers of
Athanasius said nothing on this occasion in regard to his alleged
immoralities, for which he had been condemned at Tyre, but made another
equally trivial accusation against him, and the result was his
banishment to Gaul. Whether Constantine banished him because he
believed the charge brought against him, or because he wished to
preserve him from the machinations of his enemies (as asserted by his
son Constantine, and apparently believed by Athanasius himself; see his
Apol. c. Arian. S:87), or because he thought that Athanasius’ absence
would allay the troubles in the Alexandrian church we do not know. The
latter supposition seems most probable. In any case he was not recalled
from banishment until after Constantine’s death. Our Eusebius has been
severely condemned by many historians for the part taken by him in the
Eustathian controversy and especially in the war against Athanasius. In
justice to him a word or two must be spoken in his defense. So far as
his relations to Eustathius are concerned, it is to be noticed that the
latter commenced the controversy by accusing Eusebius of heterodoxy.
Eusebius himself did not begin the quarrel, and very likely had no
desire to engage in any such doctrinal strife; but he was compelled to
defend himself, and in doing so he could not do otherwise than accuse
Eustathius of Sabellianism; for if the latter was not satisfied with
Eusebius’ orthodoxy, which Eusebius himself believed to be truly
Nicene, then he must be leaning too far toward the other extreme; that
is, toward Sabellianism. There is no reason to doubt that Eusebius was
perfectly straightforward and honorable throughout the whole
controversy, and at the Council of Antioch itself. That he was not
actuated by unworthy motives, or by a desire for revenge, is evinced by
his rejection of the proffered call to Antioch, the acceptance of which
would have given him so good an opportunity to triumph over his fallen
enemy. It must be admitted, in fact, that Eusebius comes out of this
controversy without a stain of any kind upon his character. He honestly
believed Eustathius to be a Sabellian, and he acted accordingly.

Eusebius has been blamed still more severely for his treatment of
Athanasius. But again the facts must be looked at impartially. It is
necessary always to remember that Sabellianism was in the beginning and
remained throughout his life the heresy which he most dreaded, and
which he had perhaps most reason to dread. He must, even at the Council
of Nicaea, have suspected Athanasius, who laid so much stress upon the
unity of essence on the part of Father and Son, of a leaning toward
Sabellianistic principles; and this suspicion must have been increased
when he discovered, as he believed, that Athanasius’ most staunch
supporter, Eustathius, was a genuine Sabellian. Moreover, on the other
side, it is to be remembered that Eusebius of Nicomedia, and all the
other leading Arians, had signed the Nicene creed and had proclaimed
themselves thoroughly in sympathy with its teaching. Our Eusebius,
knowing the change that had taken place in his own mind upon the
controverted points, may well have believed that their views had
undergone even a greater change, and that they were perfectly honest in
their protestations of orthodoxy. And finally, when Arius himself
presented a confession of faith which led the Emperor, who had had a
personal interview with him, to believe that he had altered his views
and was in complete harmony with the Nicene faith, it is not surprising
that our Eusebius, who was naturally unsuspicious, conciliatory and
peace-loving, should think the same thing, and be glad to receive Arius
back into communion, while at the same time remaining perfectly loyal
to the orthodoxy of the Nicene creed which he had subscribed. Meanwhile
his suspicions of the Arian party being in large measure allayed, and
his distrust of the orthodoxy of Athanasius and of his adherents being
increased by the course of events, it was only natural that he should
lend more or less credence to the calumnies which were so industriously
circulated against Athanasius. To charge him with dishonesty for being
influenced by these reports, which seem to us so absurd and palpably
calumnious, is quite unwarranted. Constantine, who was, if not a
theologian, at least a clear-headed and sharp-sighted man, believed
them, and why should Eusebius not have done the same? The incident
which took place at the Council of Tyre in connection with Potamo and
himself was important; for whatever doubts he may have had up to that
time as to the truth of the accusations made against Athanasius and his
adherents, Potamo’s conduct convinced him that the charges of tyranny
and high-handed dealing brought against the whole party were quite
true. It could not be otherwise than that he should believe that the
good of the Alexandrian church, and therefore of the Church at large,
demanded the deposition of the seditious and tyrannous archbishop, who
was at the same time quite probably Sabellianistic in his tendencies.
It must in justice be noted that there is not the slightest reason to
suppose that our Eusebius had anything to do with the dishonorable
intrigues of the Arian party throughout this controversy. Athanasius,
who cannot say enough in condemnation of the tactics of Eusebius of
Nicomedia and his supporters, never mentions Eusebius of Caesarea in a
tone of bitterness. He refers to him occasionally as a member of the
opposite party, but he has no complaints to utter against him, as he
has against the others. This is very significant, and should put an end
to all suspicions of unworthy conduct on Eusebius’ part. It is to be
observed that the latter, though having good cause as he believed to
condemn Athanasius and his adherents, never acted as a leader in the
war against them. His name, if mentioned at all, occurs always toward
the end of the list as one of the minor combatants, although his
position and his learning would have entitled him to take the most
prominent position in the whole affair, if he had cared to. He was but
true to his general character in shrinking from such a controversy, and
in taking part in it only in so far as his conscience compelled him to.
We may suspect indeed that he would not have made one of the small
party that repaired to Constantinople in response to the Emperor’s
imperious summons had it not been for the celebration of Constantine’s
tricennalia, which was taking place there at the time, and at which he
delivered, on the special invitation of the Emperor and in his
presence, one of his greatest orations. Certain it is, from the account
which he gives in his Vita Constantini, that both in Constantinople and
in Jerusalem the festival of the tricennalia, with its attendant
ceremonies, interested him much more than did the condemnation of

S:8. Eusebius and Marcellus.

It was during this visit to Constantinople that another synod was held,
at which Eusebius was present, and the result of which was the
condemnation and deposition of the bishop Marcellus of Ancyra (see
Socrates, I. 36; Sozomen, II. 33; Eusebius, Contra Marc. II. 4). The
attitude of our Eusebius toward Marcellus is again significant of his
theological tendencies. Marcellus had written a book against Asterius,
a prominent Arian, in which, in his zeal for the Nicene orthodoxy, he
had laid himself open to the charge of Sabellianism. On this account he
was deposed by the Constantinopolitan Synod, and our Eusebius was urged
to write a work exposing his errors and defending the action of the
Council. As a consequence he composed his two works against Marcellus
which will be described later. That Eusebius, if not in the case of
Athanasius and possibly not in that of Eustathius, had at least in the
present case good ground for the belief that Marcellus was a Sabellian,
or Sabellianistic in tendency, is abundantly proved by the citations
which he makes from Marcellus’ own works; and, moreover, his judgment
and that of the Synod was later confirmed even by Athanasius himself.
Though not suspecting Marcellus for some time, Athanasius finally
became convinced that he had deviated from the path of orthodoxy, and,
as Newman has shown (in his introduction to Athanasius’ fourth
discourse against the Arians, Oxford Library of the Fathers, vol. 19,
p. 503 sq.), directed that discourse against his errors and those of
his followers.

The controversy with Marcellus seems to have been the last in which
Eusebius was engaged, and it was opposition to the dreaded heresy of
Sabellius which moved him here as in all the other cases. It is
important to emphasize, however, what is often overlooked, that though
Eusebius during these years was so continuously engaged in controversy
with one or another of the members of the anti-Arian party, there is no
evidence that he ever deviated from the doctrinal position which he
took at the Council of Nicaea. After that date it was never Arianism
which he consciously supported; it was never the Nicene orthodoxy which
he opposed. He supported those members of the old Arian party who had
signed the Nicene creed and protested that they accepted its teaching,
against those members of the opposite party whom he believed to be
drifting toward Sabellianism, or acting tyrannously and unjustly toward
their opponents. The anti-Sabellianistic interest influenced him all
the time, but his post-Nicene writings contain no evidence that he had
fallen back into the Arianizing position which he had held before 325.
They reveal, on the contrary, a fair type of orthodoxy, colored only by
its decidedly anti-Sabellian emphasis.

S:9. The Death of Eusebius.

In less than two years after the celebration of his tricennalia, on May
22, 337 a.d., the great Constantine breathed his last, in Nicomedia,
his former Capital. Eusebius, already an old man, produced a lasting
testimonial of his own unbounded affection and admiration for the first
Christian emperor, in his Life of Constantine. Soon afterward he
followed his imperial friend at the advanced age of nearly, if not
quite, eighty years. The exact date of his death is unknown, but it can
be fixed approximately. We know from Sozomen (H. E. III. 5) that in the
summer of 341, when a council was held at Antioch (on the date of the
Council, which we are able to fix with great exactness, see Hefele,
Conciliengesch. I. p. 502 sq.) Acacius, Eusebius’ successor, was
already bishop of Caesarea. Socrates (H. E. II. 4) and Sozomen (H. E.
III. 2) both mention the death of Eusebius and place it shortly before
the death of Constantine the younger, which took place early in 340
(see Tillemont’s Hist. des Emp. IV. p. 327 sq.), and after the
intrigues had begun which resulted in Athanasius’ second banishment. We
are thus led to place Eusebius’ death late in the year 339, or early in
the year 340 (cf. Lightfoot’s article, p. 318).